4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
After the death of Stephen, widespread persecution of the early church broke out, scattering many of the believers to surrounding areas. Everywhere they went they proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah – the Son of the Living God. Philip was one of those believers, transplanted by persecution. In today’s reading, we find Philip far from humbly serving widows in Jerusalem and, instead, boldly sharing his faith and offering healing to the people in Samaria.
The proof seemed to be in the pudding, as the saying goes. People heard his words and saw the miraculous signs and it captured their attention, pointing them toward the truth that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. People held captive by demons and physical impairments were set free and joy was rampant in the city.
I love this idea that joy rippled through the city! It reminds me that as God’s people – His church – we bring a little bit of heaven on earth everywhere we go. And man, is there joy in heaven! Philip helped the people of Samaria to catch a glimpse of Jesus and heaven right here on earth…and it was contagious. It drew people in close enough to want a little bit of that heaven, and joy for themselves.
As you go about your day today, stop to think about how you can share a little glimpse of heaven on earth to the people around you. Maybe it is offering a kind word. Or perhaps choosing to encourage someone when it would be easier to just walk away. Maybe it is sharing what God is doing in your life so that others can see His goodness. Ask God to give you opportunities today to draw others to Him through your actions…and in the process, spread a little of the joy of heaven.