Is there a connection between Acts 1:8 and Acts 8:1?
Jesus last words to his disciples before ascending to Heaven were, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
The apostles knew this teaching. They had undoubtedly taught it over and over to the growing Jerusalem church. Yet, only a small percentage of the thousands of believers seemed to be taking Jesus' words seriously. Interestingly enough, not even the apostles themselves seemed to grasp the magnitude of Jesus' words!
When Acts 1:8 begins to take a backseat, we shouldn't be surprised by an Acts 8:1 wake-up call.
Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1)
In the midst of all that absorbs our attention:
...as important as these are, we must remember that Jesus expects his followers to be about being his witnesses not only in each of our Jerusalems, but in Judea, Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth. Jesus loves and cares about those in Somalia, Haiti, Iran, and India as much as he loves us. His focus and love is not only for us, but also on the individuals (people just like us) in the nations. The priority of taking his message of love and salvation to all people groups on the face of the earth is a serious matter with our Lord.
Instead of using Jerusalem as our launching pad to Judea, Samaria, and the nations, we go the opposite direction. We start with our Jerusalem, segment down to our suburb, and from there to our own micro-worlds. Our kingdoms gets confused with His Kingdom.
But one way or another Jesus will make his name known to the nations. We can either willingly obey, or be persecuted and scattered. Both get the job done!
When our personal kingdoms and local Jerusalem consume all our time, energy, and resources, and do so at the expense of the Great Commission; it should not come as a surprise when the Father permits Acts 8:1 measures to get us out of our secure comfortable environments and out into his harvest fields.