Through the New Testament, and especially in the narrative in Acts, we see the Kingdom of God expand exponentially. We see disciples multiply from just a few to twelve, to 120 gathered in the upper room, to 3,000 more on Pentecost, and an ever-expanding number beyond that day. We also see the multiplication of churches, beginning with one in Jerusalem to over 30 mentioned specifically. We see the multiplication of leaders and faithful workers as the movement expands throughout the land.
But what element of the Kingdom was the first thing to multiply? Not disciples, churches, or leaders...but the word of God! The message about Jesus rarely stayed in one place. The good news is contagious!
- "So His fame spread throughout all Syria..." (Matt 4.24)
- "The report of this went through all that district" (Matt 9.26)
- "And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea..." (Luke 7.17)
- Andrew encountered Jesus and immediately went to tell his brother Peter (John 1.40-41)
- "And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem..." (Acts 6.7)
- "But the word of God increased and multiplied." (Acts 12.24)
These are but a few passages--you can find so many more! Clearly, we see that the message of Jesus spread rapidly. It is the message that multiplies before anything else--and almost immediately, we see people coming to Christ to become disciples.
This is an important question to answer today as we desire to see God's Kingdom gain momentum in our own context. Before we can expect people to become disciples, they must hear. "And how are they to hear without someone preaching?...So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Romans 10.14b, 17). If we depend on just a few faithful evangelists to do the work, few will hear. But what would happen if EVERY believer was a faithful witness? And what if the message we shared were passed on to others, even before the hearers became disciples?
There is no substitute for faithful witness. Let us pray not only that God raises up workers for His harvest, but that His fame would spread throughout the land!