Friday, June 3, 2022
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-17 KJV).
What is going on in today’s Scripture? Is it something we should practice?
In chapter 6 of Acts, seven men “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (verse 3), were chosen to manage the food distribution amongst the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. One of these seven believers was Philip. When Saul of Tarsus ruthlessly persecuted the Jerusalem church, Philip fled the city and traveled to Samaria in the north to preach to them (Acts 8:5-13). The 12 Apostles, who had remained in Jerusalem (verses 1-4), hear of Philip’s converts in Samaria and send Apostles Peter and John to investigate (see today’s Scripture). Strangely enough, although these Samaritans are now believers, they do not receive the Holy Ghost until Peter and John lay hands on them. Nearly 2,000 years later, and Bible readers still needlessly struggle with this unusual situation.
One of the curses of the violated Law of Moses was Israel’s political destruction: “I will break the pride of your power,” the LORD promised them in Leviticus 26:19. This prophecy was fulfilled once idolatrous King Solomon died, David’s kingdom split into two kingdoms, 10 northern tribes and two southern tribes (see 1 Kings 11:1-13,28-39). “Samaria” eventually became a title for the Northern Kingdom. Due to their isolation from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (Southern Kingdom), the northern tribes quickly fell into pagan idolatry or devil worship (see 1 Kings 12:25-33; 1 Kings 13:32; 1 Kings 16:23-33; et al.). Furthermore, when their evils led to their eviction from the Promised Land centuries later, idolatrous Gentiles resettled the area and further corrupted it with false religion, Jews even intermarrying into these families (2 Kings 17:24-41).
Samaria languished in spiritual darkness all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry….