Saul (Paul) the Pharisee begins persecuting the believers in Jerusalem. Everyone but the apostles flee to Samaria and Judea. Stephen is buried and mourned. Saul’s campaign is relentless.
The believers who fled Jerusalem have not ceased preaching the gospel. Philip the Deacon preaches Christ to the Samaritans and heals their demoniacs and paralytics. The Samaritans are full of joy in response to the Good News and the miracle-working. Many Samaritans believe in Jesus and are baptized, including a magician named Simon. For a long while he was called “the Great Power of God” by the Samaritans, but now he sees true power in the miracles of Jesus through Philip. The Samaritans pay him no attention anymore, now only attentive to Philip. Simon follows Philip around the city, amazed by the healing he performs.
Peter and John come from Jerusalem to pray over the Samaritans, because the Holy Spirit has not yet come to indwell them. When Simon the magician sees the Spirit descend on the believers, he offers Peter money to buy the power to give the Spirit to people. Peter rebukes him sternly, telling him to repent and ask God’s forgiveness for his power-hungry request. Simon asks the apostles to ask God’s forgiveness for his error.
An angel tells Philip to start a journey toward Gaza. On the way, Philip encounters an African eunuch, an official in the court of a Queen. The eunuch is reading a prophecy from Isaiah about the suffering servant, but he doesn’t understand who the prophecy is about. Philip explains that the prophecy is about Jesus’s death for the sins of the world. The eunuch asks to be baptized in water on the side of the road. Philip asks if he believes in Jesus, and the eunuch confesses his faith. Philip baptizes him, and immediately afterward he is transported supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to the city of Azotus. The eunuch rejoices for his new faith and new life. Philip journeys to Caesarea, preaching along the way.