Acts  ◦   Chapter 8

1And Saul stood there, applauding Stephen's murder. That very day, terrible persecution broke out against those in Jerusalem who had partaken of the Remedy and were part of the church–the Lord's 'spiritual health-care' team. They all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria-all, that is, except for the Twelve.2Men who were loyal to God buried Stephen and grieved deeply for him,3but Saul set out on a mission to destroy the church. He went on a house-by-house search and dragged away any who had partaken of the Remedy, imprisoning both men and women.

4Those who had scattered out from Jerusalem spread the Remedy wherever they went.5Philip took the truth of the Messiah to a city in Samaria.6When the people heard the beauty and clarity of the Remedy he presented, and saw the miraculous healings, they were riveted to his every word.7Evil spirits shouted in protest as they were driven out, and many paralyzed and crippled people were healed.8So the city was filled with great joy.

9Simon was a magician who had for years amazed the people of the city with his sorcery. He proudly promoted himself as a person of power and importance,10and the people from all levels of society revered him and paid attention to him. They believed that his magic was done by power from God.11They followed him, because he had amazed them with magic for years.12But when they heard Philip, they believed him and partook of the Remedy he presented. Their minds were immersed in God’s kingdom of love, and they were renewed to be like Jesus Christ in character; then they were symbolically immersed in water, both men and women.13Simon publicly stated that he believed, and went through the symbolic immersion in water. Stunned by the miracles and signs he saw, he followed Philip everywhere.

14When the Lord's ambassadors in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had partaken of the Remedy and accepted the truth about God, they sent Peter and John to them.15When the two arrived, they asked the Lord to empower the Samaritans for service with the mighty agency of the Holy Spirit,16as the Holy Spirit had not yet gifted and empowered any of them for service; they only had their minds immersed in the truth and hearts renewed to be like the Lord Jesus in character.17So Peter and John put their hands on them, and they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit empowering them for ministry.

18Simon saw that the Spirit was imparted when the Lord's ambassadors placed their hands upon the people, so he tried to buy this power from Peter and John with money.19He said, "I will pay you whatever you want; just sell me this power, so that I can sell the Holy Spirit to those who pay me to put my hands on them."

20Peter was sickened at the thought and said, "You and your money will perish, because you are out of harmony with how life is constructed to operate. Life is built on giving, but you violate that design by trying to buy with money what God gives freely!21You, in your selfishness, cannot participate in this ministry of love because your heart is not harmonized with God's design.22Turn around now! Repent of this sick state of heart and ask God to cleanse and heal you from cherishing such selfishness in your heart.23I can see your heart is consumed with fear, insecurity and self-centeredness, filling you with jealousy, envy and resentment of anyone or anything that takes attention away from you."

24Then Simon said, "Please ask the Lord that nothing as bad as you have described will happen to me."

25After Peter and John had shared their testimony and the truth about God in Samaria, they went back to Jerusalem, distributing the Remedy in many Samaritan villages along the way.

26Now, one of the Lord's angels told Philip, "Go south on the desert road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza."27So he went, and while he was walking, he saw an Ethiopian eunuch, who was the national treasurer of the Ethiopian queen Candace. He had been to Jerusalem to worship,28and on his way home was sitting in his carriage, reading from the book written by God's spokesperson Isaiah.29The Spirit instructed Philip, "Go and walk beside that carriage, and stay close to it."

30So Philip ran, and as he caught up to the carriage, he heard the man reading from Isaiah. Philip asked him, "Do you understand the meaning of what you are reading?"

31"No, not really," he said. "I need someone to explain it to me." Then he asked Philip if he would ride with him and explain what it meant.

32The eunuch was reading this portion of Isaiah: "Like a sheep being led to the slaughter, or as a lamb is silent while it is sheared, so he remained silent.33By his selfless death he cured our terminal condition and thus the condemnation was taken away. Who can count the number of his children — those who partake of the Remedy he achieved? For the humanity which he assumed-the humanity inherited from Adam-was eradicated."

34The eunuch asked Philip, "So who was he talking about? Please tell me, was it himself or someone else?"35Philip, starting with that very passage from Isaiah, told him the amazing good news of Jesus becoming human, taking up our terminal condition, loving perfectly and dying selflessly-all this in order to procure the Remedy, save the human species, and secure the universe unfallen.

36Soon they came to a place along the road with water, and the eunuch said, "Look, here is some water. Why shouldn't I take a public stand and be symbolically immersed into the family of Jesus?"37"If you sincerely believe in your heart, you may," replied Philip. The eunuch answered, "I do believe! Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God."38So he ordered his carriage to stop, and they went into the water where Philip immersed him.39When they came out of the water, the Spirit of God suddenly transported Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again, but went home rejoicing.40Philip appeared in Azotus and traveled through the land, preaching the truth about God and distributing the Remedy in all the towns and villages along the way, until he reached Caesarea.