8 1Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. Persecution Scatters the Believers 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. 2(Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) 3But 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. Philip Preaches in Samaria 4But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7Many evil[V] spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city. 9A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One–the Power of God.” 11They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. 12But 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. 13Then 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. 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19“Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” 20But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts, 23for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” 24“Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!” 25After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch 26As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south[W] down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” 30Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. 32The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 33He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of His descendants? For His life was taken from the earth.”[X] 34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”37[Y] 38He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.
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