(1-3) Saul Ravages the Church
Most of us have been taught to see the good in every situation. At this time, the early church was undergoing intense persecution, led by Saul, and many Christians were forced to flee their homes and were scattered throughout various regions. What is the good in this very bad situation? Perhaps if persecution had not driven these early Christians from their homes, they would have never left on their own to spread the Gospel to other regions that had not yet heard of Jesus the Christ. We do not know for certain, but perhaps there were some unbelievers who became believers when they witnessed the manner in which Stephen and other Christians died or went to prison – fearlessly and without apology for their faith.
(4-8) Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria
The Christians who were scattered did not lament their scattering. They used persecution against them as power for God, turned a negativity into a positivity, and used their new surroundings to preach the Word. Philip proclaimed Christ to the people of Samaria, and those who believed in Him experienced much joy. When Jesus the Christ enters into a person’s heart, the sadness that sin causes comes to an end, and the joy of salvation reigns.
(9-25) Simon the Magician Believes
The truth of the Gospel of Christ reveals lies and falsities by opening (spiritually) blind eyes and unstopping (spiritually) deaf ears. Before Philip came to Samaria, the people wrongly believed that Simon was a great man who had the power of God because they were in awe of his magic. But when they listened to Philip and heard the spoken Word of God, they became aware of the truth and believed in Jesus the Christ. Even Simon stopped practicing his magic and instead of people being amazed by his work, he became amazed by God’s work.
As a new believer, however, he does not understand that the power of God cannot be obtained or given by money – but only by prayer and fasting. Peter has to rebuke him for this request and tells him to repent and be forgiven.
Favorite verse: (8) So there was much joy in that city.