Part VII

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry Beyond Jerusalem

That day, things changed for the believers, for persecution of them broke out and the believers fled, except the twelve apostles who stayed in Jerusalem, as we can read in Acts 8:1b

…. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Someone named Philip ended up in a city in Samaria. Philip is first mentioned among the deacons in Acts 6:5

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

Just as Stephen had gone beyond taking care of the distribution of food, so Philip had began to minister in other ways when he arrived in Samaria, as we can read in Acts 8:5-8

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and crippled were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

The apostles heard that many people in Samaria had become believers in Jesus because of the preaching of Philip, so they sent Peter and John to confirm what was happening, as we can read in Acts 8:14-17

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

These believers had been born again, and the Holy Spirit was residing inside them. But they had not yet been empowered by the Holy Spirit through the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. That was necessary in order for them to fulfil the task that God had for them, just as it had been necessary for all the other believers to be baptised with the Holy Spirit so they could fulfil their God-given task. Therefore, Peter and John prayed over them, so that these believers in Samaria would receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as well.