Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(40 verses, 5:13 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Saul approves of the execution and persecution of Christians and desires to scatter them. This persecution does not stop them from confessing so that many believe and are baptized outside of the city. Philip preaches in Samaria and a man named Simon is converted, but later struggles with jealousy and the lack of attention and authority he was receiving. Peter and John visit Samaria and Philip is sent to reveal the “about whom” of Scripture to an Ethiopian.
MARK & LEARN
- One of the goals of persecution of the Church is to scatter her (vs. 1 & 4). The enemies of Jesus know the strength of Christians gathering and having unity and fellowship in the word of God, so they desire to destroy it. They can destroy the body, but they cannot destroy the Holy Spirit whose work it is to gather Christians through the word of God.
- In fact, the scattering can sometimes be how the Holy Spirit works (vs. 4). This scattering sometimes has the gift of spreading the message of Christ’s death and resurrection all that further. There become little pockets of Christians confessing. This should be an encouragement to you, that after you are gathered to hear the Lord’s word and receive His Sacrament, you are sometimes scattered to a large group of an unbelieving world.
- Simon, by the grace of God, is converted (13). The attention that was paid to him (10-11), is now given to the apostles of Christ as the risen Jesus, through the apostles to do, does similar works that He did before his death. This turning of attention, however, will be a source of jealousy and coveting for Simon (vs. 18-24) so that he even desires to purchase the Holy Spirit (vs. 18-19).
- The encounter of Philip and the Ethiopian teaches us several comforting truths: 1.) God gives us other Christians and pastors to help us hear the Word and understand the fullness therein. We all need guided (vs. 31). 2.) All of the Old Testament points to Jesus. He is the “about home” (vs. 34) that Scripture is about. 3.) In Phillip’s confession of what Scripture is about, he must have included baptism as a central confession of the Lords Word. Otherwise, the Ethiopian would not have made the suggestion that he did after being taught in the Scriptures (vs. 36).
- Lord Jesus, comfort me with the truth that You are the “about whom” that Scripture and all of life is about. Forgive me when I become the “about whom” that my life is about. It is then that I fail to acknowledge You as Lord and my neighbors as people to love as I love myself. Like Simon, I too often desire attention from others and become jealous if that attention is paid to You or to others. Continually guide me into the truth that You were led like a sheep to the slaughter and were silent before Your accusers so that my sins and shame are covered and that You give me joy as You confess me before my Father’s throne. Protect me with the same holy angels that carried Philip to the Ethiopian and send me pastors and Christians that pray for me and rub into my ears the truth of Your goodness and mercy. I cannot purchase these gifts, but You have purchased me with precious death and burial
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Pastor Christopher Stout