March 20, 2024


Acts 8:5-12 - Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.


This passage from Acts 8 tells the story of Philip traveling to Samaria to preach the gospel. He performed miraculous signs, healing the sick and driving out demons. Many Samaritans believed his message about the kingdom of God and were baptized. One of those who believed was Simon, a sorcerer who had previously amazed people with his magic. But when Simon saw the real power of God through Philip, he believed and was baptized. The key events in this passage are: Philip preaches the gospel in Samaria with power and authority (vv. 5-7), Many Samaritans believe his message and are healed and delivered (vv. 7-8), Simon the sorcerer, who had previously amazed people, believes and is baptized (vv. 9-13). A few key themes emerge: The gospel is for all people - including despised Samaritans, The kingdom of God has supernatural power beyond human magic, Even great sinners can repent, believe and be baptized, Baptism is the natural response to believing the gospel. So this passage shows the gospel breaking new ground from Jerusalem to Samaria, authenticated by miraculous signs, humbling a great sorcerer, and leading many people to faith and baptism.


This passage has a lot to teach us about baptism. First, it shows us that baptism is directly connected to belief in the gospel. The Samaritans responded to Philip's preaching by believing in Jesus and then being baptized. Baptism was part of what it meant to become a Christian in the early church. It symbolized their identification with Christ's death and resurrection, and their commitment to follow him. Second, this passage reminds us that baptism is not just for a certain class of people. Both men and women, commoners and outsiders like the Samaritans, and even notorious sinners like Simon were all baptized when they believed. Baptism is for all who put their faith in Jesus. As we reflect on our own baptism, here are some key questions to consider: Have you been baptized as a symbol of your faith in Jesus? If not, what is holding you back? Believers in the New Testament made this a priority. Do you need to recommit yourself to the pledge made at your baptism? Your baptism was just the starting point of a lifelong journey of faith. Who can you invite to consider baptism and life with Jesus? Like Philip, we too have good news to share with others. No matter your background, baptism remains a gift open to all who believe. As in this passage, it marks a turning point from old ways to new life in Christ.


Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of baptism and the truths we see displayed in this passage from Acts. Thank you that your gospel is for all people - Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles alike. Thank you for welcoming notorious sinners like Simon the sorcerer when we turn to you in faith. Help us who have been baptized to live faithfully in the commitment we made to be your disciples. Give us boldness like Philip to share the good news with others and invite them to believe and be baptized. Baptize us afresh with your Holy Spirit each day. In your powerful name, amen.

Generated Image(s)

Philip baptizes Simon, sorcerer surrendered; Crowds amazed as God's kingdom is rendered.

Philip baptizes Simon, sorcerer surrendered;
Crowds amazed as God's kingdom is rendered.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.