Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
8 1 And Saul approved of their killing him.
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
4 Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6 The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, 7 for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
In this passage, we get the pre-Christ encounter of Saul (Paul) who is zealously trying to destroy this new movement which he sees as blasphemous. He holds the coats for those stoning Stephen showing his agreement for that act. Then he goes around arresting men and women who confess Jesus as Messiah. He is out to destroy this movement yet God works all the more. Phillip is casting out demons and healing people in Jesus’ name. Phillip here is acting as God’s ambassador of His new kingdom in Christ in which the principalities and powers have to bow before the might of Christ through the Holy Spirit. We see the contrast of Saul’s endeavors with that of Phillip’s and we are left to ask which one is acting as an ambassador of God’s kingdom. Saul (Paul) has participated in murder and imprisonments. There is no power to his ministry. In contrast, we have Phillip who is sharing the message, exorcising unclean spirits, healing in Christ’s name and even though the movement is persecuted, it is spreading. When we act as ambassadors of Christ in the world, do we boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and the title of Christ?
Heavenly Father in our zealousness may we seek after you in your kingdom acting to spread and share the good news of the gospel with those around us. May we be intentional and share the truth of the gospel in love.
Go with God!