December 24, 2020 – Thursday
Acts 8:12 NIV
12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
But? Why does the verse begin with But? Well, first a bit of context. Philip was in a city in Samaria and Samaria was a region Jews normally avoided as best they could as they discriminated against Samarians as half-breeds and not real Jews. Still, after Stephen was martyred, persecution against the church broke out in Jerusalem. Because of that, 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
We still have not addressed the But in our verse of the day, but we will now. In the same city Philip went to there was a man named Simon who practiced sorcery 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. And now we come to our verse of the day, 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
This tells me that while the people may have considered Simon’s sorcery and Philp’s signs and healings somewhat equal it was the message of the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ that changed the hearts of the people. It was that message Philip was proclaiming as the paralyzed and lame were healed that caused them to believe and to be baptized. In fact, we find in the very next verse (13), Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. We are not told why Simon believed, but we are given a clue in that as he followed Philip everywhere, it was not the message that affected him, but the great signs and miracles he saw that astonished him. It was almost as if he ignored the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ that Philip proclaimed. (Read the rest of the chapter to find out if that was so)
Therein lies a lesson for all of us. Do we wait for a miracle or do we listen to the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ as proclaimed throughout the New Testament and as prophesied throughout the Old Testament? There are still miracles and blessings in our lives today, but not signs and wonders such as in the time of the apostles. Jesus is still able to defeat any and all sin that demons have enslaved us with, if we but turn to Him. After all, the good news of the kingdom of God is that Jesus paid the price for our sins as the last Passover Lamb on the cross. And with repentance of our sins and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior our sins are forgiven as we become new creations or as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Today is Christmas Eve when God bestowed upon mankind His greatest gift, His Son! Through Him we are able to become a new creation. Let us truly appreciate the good news of that great and wonderful gift.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Your Son, our Savior. Thank You for such a wonderful and incredible gift. – In Jesus name, amen.