Did Philip Take the Spirit or Did the Spirit Take Philip?
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.
When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
Philip is the new circus in town. After fleeing the murder of Stephen and the mass jailing and persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, Philip went down from the high peaks of Jerusalem to the plains of Samaria.
The Samaritans were not Orthodox Jews. They had a mix of paganism from all around the world, and some Jewish influence because so many people believed that your religion and deities were based on your location. Kind of like someone coming to America and ‘doing the church thing’ because everyone here does that, but still believing and practicing Buddhism.
On the one hand, you can see why the Jews in Jerusalem would despise them so much. On the other hand, you can see why they would need to hear about Jesus so bad. These folks are all mixed up!
The book we are in is called ‘The Acts of the Apostles’. Many people have said it should be named ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit.’ I can see why they say that except for one big reason it shouldn’t be called that.
In every big event of the book of Acts, the action is done by the Holy Spirit through people. The Holy Spirit didn’t just do some disembodied miracles in Samaria, God worked in Philip. He is the one that went there. He is the one that preached to the people.
Paul, the same guy named Saul, who approved of Stephen’s death, would write later:
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14
The next thing to wonder about is the miracles. God doesn’t limit Himself to formulas, so we shouldn’t say why miracles happened then but we don’t see them today. God laughs at us when we limit Him like that. Perhaps if we look where we see daredevil preaching like Philip in Samaria, we’ll also see such miracles. Perhaps if we carry the Holy Spirit into situations of desperate preaching and salvation, the Holy Spirit will carry us into the great joy of saved Samaria.
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