About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church.
This reference to King Herod Agrippa provides us with a time frame for all that has been happening in the life of the early church. Agrippa's death occured in 44 AD. If we place Jesus' crucifixion at around 30 to 33 AD (various scholars make a case for dates generally in that range, I believe), then the church is about ten or eleven years old.
In this time we've seen it spreading under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to include Jews and Gentiles (outsiders) from all walks of life: rich and poor, soldiers, priests and civilians, scholars and the "unschooled."
Somehow the miraculous story of God's work as a carpenter's Son from Galilee has transformed them all. Over a decade or so, people have endured pursecutions and witnessed miracles. They've lost leaders to execution, and seen one of the executioners become their boldest ally!
They've seen people struck down, and others raised up - even from death! They've been thrown into prison yet also seen miraculous escapes from prison.
The church's influence has only begun to be felt in Jerusalem, and along the shores of the eastern Mediteranean, yet already the world is being turned upside down.
And the story is just beginning!