Acts 8:1–13 (NKJV)
1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.Acts 8:1-3
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
At the death of Stephen, we see the further reference to Saul, at whose feet they laid down their clothes as they stoned Stephen. Now, it says that Saul was consenting to his death. This establishes Saul as a persecutor of the church. He and others arose against the church and made it necessary for them to scatter throughout the land surrounding Jerusalem. This was a purposeful action, and it served to move the message of the gospel out concentrically so that the name and message of Jesus could be spread–eventually–around the world. Saul became a leader in the persecution, taking Christians to prison and consenting to their death.
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.Acts 8:4-8
As was stated earlier, the gospel went forth more quickly and broadly after the persecution began. Instead of causing a diminishing of the spreading of the gospel, it actually spread the message even more! Multitudes believed and Philip won over much of Samaria. Demons were cast out of possessed individuals and the sick and lame were healed. Great joy and revival came to Samaria.
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.Acts 8:9-13
Simon, a sorcerer from Samaria, once ruled over that city with a spiritual power drawn from his tricks and spells. However, when Simon came face to face with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the message of Christ, he and many of the city believed and were saved. Simon was baptized with the rest, and was himself astonished at the signs and miracles which occurred by the hand of Peter. This revival was one of many that would occur throughout the Middle East and eventually even into Europe. What began in the upper room had now become a fast-moving, effective revival that was changing lives, bodies, and minds to believe in Jesus Christ. This movement had seen believers martyred, sorcerers converted, the lame healed, and so many more amazing things happen. We today have the same power and the same Holy Spirit leading us. Let’s tap into the power of God and live undaunted in the face of all opposition!
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