Following the resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days among the disciples. Just before he ascended on the 40th day, he challenged the disciples to be witnesses of good news to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the Earth. To us these may be just place names, but to those first disciples, they were much more than that.
Jerusalem was the site of the crucifixion.
Judea was the territory where Jesus was continually harassed & threatened.
Samaria was the territory of their hated neighbors.
And for fishermen & small town men & women, their world was only as large as their travels with Jesus took them.
No wonder they just stood & gazed up to heaven when Jesus ascended & left them. What was Jesus thinking? How would we ever be able to respond to the challenge? So they returned to the upper room again to pray & pray & pray some more.
There they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Following that day of fire, the disciples learned what the Epistle of Pete describes.
They would endure painful ordeals.
They would endure anxious times.
They would resist evil.
And they would live in hope.
And they would witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, & to the ends of the earth.