Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.
Crowds listened intently to what he had to say because of the miracles he did.
Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed.
So there was great joy in that city.
A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, claiming to be someone great.
The Samaritan people, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as "the Great One -- the Power of God."
He was very influential because of the magic he performed.
But now the people believed Philip's message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.
Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the great miracles and signs Philip performed.
When the apostles back in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God's message, they sent Peter and John there.
As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given when the apostles placed their hands upon people's heads, he offered money to buy this power.
"Let me have this power, too," he exclaimed, "so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!"
But Peter replied, "May your money perish with you for thinking God's gift can be bought!
You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right before God.
Turn from your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts,
for I can see that you are full of bitterness and held captive by sin."
"Pray to the Lord for me," Simon exclaimed, "that these terrible things won't happen to me!"
After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News to them, too.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)