Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
- Acts 1:6-9
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
- Acts 22:21
But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you. I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
- Romans 15:23-24
“Was Spain more important to Paul than Rome? Probably. For Paul was the consummate missionary. Rome had the gospel; Spain did not. It was as simple as that. Did God command Paul to go to Spain? No, not specifically. He had specified that Paul’s primary ministry would be to the Gentiles as a group (Acts 9:15; 26:17); and He had announced that He would send Paul ‘far away’ to reach lost people (Acts 22:21). But it was Paul who made it his lifegoal to reach ‘all the Gentiles’ (Romans 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:17). His plans were calculated, apart from special revelation, to reach the world in his lifetime.”
- Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making & the Will of God
Was Paul full of hubris when he said that he needed to spread the gospel to all Gentiles? No, what does Jesus say in Acts 1? Start with Jerusalem, but your job is not finished until you have gone to the ends of the earth. Jesus says nothing about being called home before you are finished. The apostles thought Jesus would return in their lifetime and their work ethic reflected that thought. At the time of the first century church, Spain was about the western most spot. They had not been reached by the gospel. Ergo, Paul planned to go there.
In reading a variety of articles, it is a head scratcher as to whether the Apostle Paul ever made it to Spain. Most conclude from references outside Scripture that the imprisonment that Paul endures at the end of the book of Acts was not the imprisonment in which he was martyred. So, if there was a gap of freedom from imprisonment before he was imprisoned again, he COULD have done as he intended and continued to Spain. All of this is conjecture based on vague comments written by others at the time. All we know is that his intention was to go to Spain. That is in the Scriptures themselves.
How seriously do you take the last words of Jesus before He ascended, the first Scripture above? Many think Jesus was only talking to the disciples, a message meant from them only. I believe that these words would not be in Scripture if He did not mean them for everyone, including us. But I doubt if Jesus meant that we should all travel to Albania or Norfolk Island or Vanuatu or Zimbabwe to spread the Gospel. Your next-door neighbor may be the one Jesus wants you to introduce to Him. There are supporting roles to be played in sending missionaries to these locations. Those with the heart and the means for giving can fund a missionary. It is not always a one-person job. It rarely is.
When I started this blog, I felt four things being said in my mind. “Give it away. Go where they are. They are on the internet. Write a blog.” I have mentioned that as this was going through my head, I had only read one blog in my life. I had no idea what I was getting into, but those words of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth kept ringing in my ears.
I planned this post to be written after I finished the quoted book by Rev. Dr. Friesen. It is probably a GMC (God-Made Coincidence) that this blog site has “reached” half the countries on earth (according to the database), oddly on the same day that I finished reading the book. As for the random countries mentioned two paragraphs ago, I chose the “A” and the “Z” to give the concept of the “ends” of the earth, but I chose Norfolk Island and Vanuatu (both too small to show up on the map) because they are among the latest who have shown up in the database.
And may I say before moving on, onetime visitors are nice, but the ones who keep coming back on a regular basis, I thank you all. And may God bless all who read this blog.
I run the risk of being like King David who asked for a census without consulting God beforehand. I am not counting my chickens here. Rather the opposite, I am like the Apostle Paul. I have crossed over the halfway point. That means that I have the other half to go. You can see from the graphic above that not all the earth is painted pink and may never be. It is God’s will that the words on this blog site reach the people God intends for them to reach. I just keep plugging away, as Paul did.
Again I ask, did the Apostle Paul reach Spain? His letters reached Spain if he did not physically get there. The stats on WordPress do not include all who visit the site. There are holes in the data collection, but I will not stop until the map is all pink, and not then, until I am no longer able to write or Jesus has returned. That’s why Paul and the other apostles needed to go to the ends of the known world – in Paul’s case, to “Spain.” He was preparing the way for the return of Jesus.
We should all have that zeal.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.