February 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.


In this passage from Acts, Philip goes to Samaria and preaches the good news of Jesus Christ. Many people believe his message and signs, including a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic. Simon himself comes to faith and is baptized. The key events are: - Philip travels to Samaria and preaches Christ (v.5) - Crowds pay attention because of his words and miraculous signs (v.6-7) - Many are delivered from demons and healed from illnesses (v.7) - The city rejoices over what is happening (v.8) - Simon the magician amazes people with his sorcery (v.9-11) - People believe Philip's message about God's kingdom and Christ (v.12) - Both men and women are baptized as a sign of their new faith (v.12) - Simon himself believes Philip's message and is baptized (v.13) The passage shows how the gospel spreads beyond Jerusalem to Samaria through Philip's ministry. People turn from Simon's magic to faith in Christ. Baptism marks their conversion and identification with Jesus. Even Simon believes and is baptized, though questions linger about his motives. Overall it demonstrates the power of the gospel to transform lives when people believe its message about Jesus and the kingdom of God.


This passage provides a great case study on the meaning and importance of baptism. When Philip preaches in Samaria, men and women believe his message about Jesus and the kingdom of God. In response, they are baptized as a public sign of their newfound faith in Christ. Even Simon the magician, known for amazing people with his sorcery, believes Philip's preaching and gets baptized. Baptism serves as the defining line between Simon's old life of magic and his new life as a believer in Jesus. Just as the believers in Samaria turned from Simon to follow Philip and his message, Simon's baptism marks his break from his former livelihood deceiving people with tricks. He identifies himself with Philip's God and the name of Jesus Christ. For Simon and the Samaritan believers, baptism is more than just a ritual or religious tradition. It signifies a changed life through faith in Christ. Even today, baptism represents our personal commitment to leave behind our old way of living and find a new identity in Jesus. Just as it marked the Samaritans' conversion, baptism marks our conversion as we start a new life of walking with Jesus. It is an outward sign of an inward spiritual transformation. Simon's subsequent words and actions will call into question the genuineness of his faith and baptism. But this passage remains an important reminder that baptism serves as the starting line of the Christian life. It indicates we have believed the message of salvation, repented of our sins, received new life in Christ, and pledged to follow after Jesus from that point forward.


Lord Jesus, we praise You for the transforming power of the gospel that turned both peasants and sorcerers into believers in Samaria. Thank You for the gift of baptism that allows us to publicly identify with You and demonstrate that we have new life in Your name. Help us remember that baptism marks the beginning of our walk with You, not the end. Empower us by Your Spirit to live faithfully in a way that brings You honor through our words, thoughts, and actions every day. Just as the Samaritans rejoiced over the signs and wonders You did through Philip, fill our hearts with joy as we follow You all our days. Amen.

Generated Image(s)

People rejoice as they turn from magic to faith, believing the good news and identifying with Christ through baptism.

People rejoice as they turn from magic to faith, believing the good news and identifying with Christ through baptism.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.