ImmerseMessiah NLT - Flipbook - Page 86
Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing
A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in
Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through
the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried
Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy
the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and
women to throw them into prison.
But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus
wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and
told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip
because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs
he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims.
And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great
joy in that city.
A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. Everyone,
from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the
Power of God.” They listened closely to him because for a long time he had
astounded them with his magic.
But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many
men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself believed and was
baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed
by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had
accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they
arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their
hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their
hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have
this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people,
they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking
God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not
right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps
he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter
jealousy and are held captive by sin.”