We recall how Jesus often went through Samaria in travelling from Jerusalem to Galilee and back. On several occasions he spent time with the people there. Remember how some said, “we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” [John 4 v.42] So we can see that the Samarians were ready for the Gospel harvest. Jesus commissioned his disciples as he was about to ascend to heaven that they were to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1 v.8] Only today is the message really reaching “the end of the earth.”
The disciples were slow at first to carry out his commission. Preaching was concentrated on Jerusalem until Stephen was killed, but, after Stephen’s death the believers “were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” [v.1] We read today how Philip made a particular effort to preach in Samaria [v.5] “and the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said … and saw the signs that he did … so there was much joy … “ [v.6,8]
“When they believed Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God, they were baptised … now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God they sent to them Peter and John” [v.12,14].
This is a key word – receive, received, that we will encounter in the book of Acts and apostolic writings. As an example,the first verse of Ch. 11 tells us, “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.” [v.1]. The point we must recognise is that it is one thing to read and to hear about the message of the Kingdom and of Christ’s return to establish it – but it is another to receive it into our heart and mind.
When we come to ch. 17 we will see a special example of this in v.11. The Jews “in Thessalonica “received the word with all eagerness, to see if these things were so.” A message that becomes part of your thinking – motivates you into action to examine the Scriptures daily.
Have you “received” the word of God – or only just know about it? To find it interesting is only a stepping stone – the journey to conviction has to be completed and it is a fascinating, exciting and totally rewarding, it is the only journey worth taking in this ungodly world.