“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. Simon himself believed and was baptized….”
After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the church spread rapidly from Jerusalem to every corner of the earth. In the land of Samaria there was a sorcerer named Simon who claimed to have the power of God. He amazed people with his magic and had a puffed-up sense of greatness. But then, the deacon Philip came to town, proclaiming the good news that Jesus saves! The people heard and were baptized. And following their example, even Simon believed in Jesus Christ and was baptized, publicly professing his faith in the Lord.
1. Our scripture states that the people believed when Philip, “…proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God.” And then they were baptized. In the Bible, why do you think people were baptized AFTER they followed Jesus? Why should people be baptized today?
2. The Bible passage for today also relates that, after other men and women were baptized, even Simon the sorcerer believed and was baptized. How do you think baptism encourages others to believe in Jesus?
3. Our scripture also mentions that, “both men and women” were baptized. Who is eligible for baptism? Is it only for men and women, or can children and students be baptized. Is baptism reserved for only “good” people or can “bad” people be baptized? What are the criteria? HINT: “But when they believed….” (Acts 8:12a).
1. BELIEVE IN JESUS. Not just that He exists, but that He is God’s Son the incarnated Lord! And not just shallow belief either, but truly trusting in and relying upon Jesus Christ and fully surrendering to Him!
2. BE BAPTIZED AS A BELIEVER. Everyone who was baptized in the Bible did so after belief in Jesus. It was their way of publicly identifying with the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ and their acceptance of Him. (If you have already been baptized, take this opportunity to remember and praise the Lord for saving you.)
3. EXEMPLIFY. Be an example to others. Baptism is a powerful testimony that leads others to faith in the Lord. And…if you have already been baptized, renew your commitment to letting your words and life exemplify your faith in Jesus, drawing others to Him.
Lord, thank you for the precious gift of baptism, where we publicly declare our love and passion for you. We ask for your blessings to be poured out on all who take this stand for Jesus. Please work within them to renew and refresh them each day. Guide their footsteps and give them a hope and a vision for the future. The past is gone. They stand free and whole, loved and forgiven within the kingdom of God. May the day of their baptism be one they cherish and remember forever! Amen.