17 May. Acts 8:14-25

17 May. Peter and John ask the Holy Spirit to fill the Samaritan believers

"When the apostles who were still in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them."

"When Peter and John arrived, they prayed that the Samaritan believers might receive the Holy Spirit. These people had been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them."

"Then, when the two apostles began laying their hands on the people, they received the Holy Spirit."

"Simon [who had been an attention-seeking 'magician' using occult powers] saw that the Spirit was given to people when the apostles laid their hands on them. So he offered the apostles money, saying, 'Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands will receive the Holy Spirit.'"

"Peter said to him, 'You and your money should both be destroyed [literally, "can go to hell"] because you thought you could buy God's gift with money. You cannot share with us in this work since your heart is not right before God.'"

"'Change you heart! Turn away from this evil thing you have done, and pray to the Lord. Maybe he will forgive you for thinking this. I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and ruled by sin.'"

"Simon [frightened to death] answered, 'Both of you pray for me to the Lord so the things you have said will not happen to me.'"

"After Peter and John told the people what they had seen Jesus do and after they had spoken the message of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem. On the way they went through many Samaritan towns and preached the Good News to the people."

          (Acts 8:14-25)



Peter and John were sent by the traditional Jewish Christians in Jerusalem to check out what was going on in Samaria. The idea that God might want these longstanding 'enemies' of the Jewish people to share in God's kingdom was still quite hard for them to understand.

So Peter and John arrived in Samaria from Jerusalem and discovered that something wasn't quite right. The people had believed the Good News about Jesus, but clearly something was lacking. They didn't look in any way different from anyone else! And they didn't in any way stand out from the crowd. (They probably looked much like lots of believing Christians in our churches today!)

Peter and John quickly realised what was lacking, and prayed that the new Samaritan believers would be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. They were - and the difference was obvious immediately because they now had Jesus's power overflowing out of them. They were infectious with God's love and desperate to show it to others. They stood out immediately as quite different from the other Samaritans around them!

Now Simon (an arrogant man who boasted about his ‘magical’ powers) saw the change in these believers, and wanted the power to do this himself. So he tried to buy the ability to anoint people with the Holy Spirit, but was strongly rebuked by Peter.

Amazed that even Samaritans (whom the Jews hated) were being blessed by God and filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, spreading the Good News of Jesus in many Samaritan villages on the way back.

The photo (by Bukvoed) shows remains of Roman Sebaste (Samaria).

You can read more about Philip's adventures in Samaria, Gaza and Caesarea @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/7-journ…/philips-journeys/

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