Immediately after the Lord resurrection, the disciples were all together. We read in John 20:26, “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” Immediately after the Lord’s ascension to Heaven, we read in Acts 1:12-14, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Before long, the apostles began being persecuted for their testimonies of Christ. We read in Acts 5:17-18, “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.” This is a fascinating account of their miraculous delivery and trial before the council. I encourage you to read about this in Acts 5:12-42. This account ends with these words from verses 41-42, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” At this point, the apostle were still in Jerusalem and we read in Acts 6:7, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” The Word was going forth and many were being saved. Even many of the priests were coming to Christ.

However, the persecution continued and increased. We have the account of the first Christian martyr, a man named Stephen in Acts 7:54-60. A young man named Saul (later to become the Apostle Paul) was instrumental in Stephen’s death and we read in Acts 8:3-4, “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Persecution drove many of the apostles and other disciples away from Jerusalem. The Lord had told His apostles in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” At the beginning, the apostles did not go, but stayed in Jerusalem, so the Lord used this persecution to drive them out. We see that as they went out, they “went everywhere preaching the word.” In Acts 8:5, we see that Philip went to Samaria. Later, Peter and John joined Philip (verse 14). Philip was used mightily of the Lord in other places as well.

Peter, who had travelled to Joppa was sent to Caesarea to proclaim the Gospel to Cornelius, an Italian man. This was important because the Gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles! (Acts 9).

It is difficult to trace the steps of the apostles. Most of them are rarely mentioned after the ascension of Christ. There are historical accounts of their activities, but I will leave that research to the reader. I believe we can rest assured that they obeyed the Lord’s directive to “preach the Gospel to every creature.” I’m reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy shortly before his martyrdom. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2). May we take on this charge and be faithful to learn God’s Word and then share it with others, wherever the Lord may send us. He may send us to faraway places. He may send us out to our neighborhoods. Wherever we go, may we all “preach the Gospel to every creature.” (315.2)