That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem. The believers were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. All, that is, but the apostles.
Good and brave men buried Stephen, giving him a solemn funeral - not many dry eyes that day!
And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail.
Forced to leave home base, the Christians all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus.
Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah.
When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God's action, they hung on his every word.
Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way.
And what joy in the city!
Previous to Philip's arrival, a certain Simon had practiced magic in the city, posing as a famous man and dazzling all the Samaritans with his wizardry.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)