‘4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 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 paralysed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.’NIV
The ‘persecution was overruled to scatter the Church, which had grown too prosperous and secure, and needed to be reminded of the Lord’s injunction to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The light must be diffused; the salt must be scattered. How often God has to drive us by trouble to do what we ought to have done gladly and spontaneously!…Here we enter upon the second circle of Acts 1:8.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.488. Meyer also makes the interesting point that John was sent with Peter to bring the fire of Pentecost to the very area that he and his brother had earlier suggested should be destroyed by fire (Luke 9:54). But that is getting ahead of ourselves.
As we see this rippling out effect note:
The extent of their ministry (4): ‘’…wherever they went.’’ The ripples went far and wide;
The content of their ministry (5): Philip’s focus was on Jesus. We have no reason to think that it was any different with the other preachers. In fact, it’s the pattern of preaching throughout ‘Acts’;
The accompaniment of their ministry (6, 7): Signs followed, and there was a healthy partnership between the Word preached and the miracles accompanying, resulting in ‘’close attention’’ being paid to the message;
The result of their ministry (8): You get the sense that the character of the city was affected for good. This is something to desire for the places where we live. We can dare to believe it is possible because the same Holy Spirit is with us. If there is one thing our nation surely needs it is true ‘’joy’’.
PRAYER: Lord God, we pray for the transformation of the cities, towns and villages where we live. We pray, believing this is possible.