January 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 receives baptism. On the surface, it appears he has genuine faith like the others.


This passage provides a pattern for evangelism - preaching the good news of Jesus leads people to faith and baptism. Like Philip, we are called to proclaim Christ to others with both words and actions. When people see signs and wonders alongside gospel preaching, many will believe. There is great joy when the kingdom of God advances and people commit their lives to following Jesus. Baptism marks that commitment publicly. As in Samaria, the gospel still moves into new regions today, turning people from false beliefs and magic to faith in Christ. Yet Simon's story also warns us that not all faith is genuine. Although he professes belief and receives baptism, subsequent passages reveal serious flaws in his faith. We must beware of superficial conversions without true repentance. As Jesus taught, the seed of the gospel bears varying amounts of lasting fruit depending on the soil of people's hearts. As we share our faith, we must preach the gospel with clarity and allow signs and wonders to demonstrate God's power. Yet only God sees the heart, so we cannot evaluate others' faith. Our role is to proclaim the message faithfully and leave the results to God, trusting Him to separate authentic belief from empty professions. May we see many turn wholeheartedly to follow Christ!


Lord Jesus, thank You for the ministry of Philip bringing the gospel to Samaria. I pray You would use me also to share the good news with clarity and power. Produce lasting fruit in hearts as people repent, believe, and commit their lives to You through baptism. Guard me from judging others while sowing seed faithfully. Reveal any areas of unsurrendered pride in my own life. May many turn from empty idols to worship You alone as the One True God. Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Philip proclaims Christ in Samaria; Signs confirm, magic fades, hearts change.

Philip proclaims Christ in Samaria; 
Signs confirm, magic fades, hearts change.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.