1-3 And Saul agreed with that Jewish council mob. He reckoned it was all right for them to kill Stephen.
After that, some good men got Stephen’s body and buried it, and they cried a lot for him.
Saul made trouble for the Christians
But Saul and his friends started making a lot of trouble for the Christians in Jerusalem. They went into the houses of Christians and dragged out the men and women, and locked them up in jail. Saul and his men were trying to finish up the Christian people. So a lot of those Christians ran away from Jerusalem to Judea country, and to Samaria country. But Jesus’s 12 special workers stayed in Jerusalem.*
Philip went to Samaria
The Christians that ran away from Jerusalem went to a lot of different places, and in all those places they told people the good news about Jesus. One of them was Philip. He went to a town in Samaria country and told everyone, “Jesus is the Christ, the special man that God promised to send.” God gave Philip a lot of power. A lot of people saw him do powerful things, and they listened to him, and they thought carefully about his message. You see, a lot of people had bad spirits in them, and Philip used Gods power to force those bad spirits out of them. Those bad spirits screamed as they left those people. And Philip also used Gods power to make a lot of crippled people better, and other people that couldn’t walk because their legs were too weak, Philip made them better too. So the people in that town were very happy.
A man that used to do magic lived in that town in Samaria. His name was Simon. He did that magic for a long time before Philip went there. Everyone there was surprised by the things he did. He used to say, “I am a great man.” 10 All the people talked about him and said, “This man is really great. He has God’s power.” Important people said that, as well as other people.
11 Simon did that magic for a long time, and the people there were always surprised by the things he did, so they listened to him. 12 But then Philip went to that town and told the people the good news about Jesus, and about God’s family, and he told them that God sent Jesus Christ to save people. A lot of men and women listened to Philip and believed in Jesus, and then Philip baptised them. 13 Simon believed in Jesus too, so Philip baptised him. After that, Simon followed Philip everywhere, and he watched him doing powerful things. Simon was very surprised by those powerful things that Philip did.
14-17 But at that time, the Holy Spirit didn’t go into any of those Samaria people. Philip only baptised the people to show they belonged to Jesus. Then Jesus’s special workers in Jerusalem heard that the people in Samaria believed God’s word, so they sent Peter and John to Samaria. After they got there, they put their hands on the people that believed in Jesus, and prayed for them. Then the Holy Spirit came into those people.
18-19 Simon watched Peter and John. He saw them put their hands on people, and then the Holy Spirit went into those people. So Simon said to Peter, “Let me have that power too, so that if I put my hands on people, the Holy Spirit will go into them. If you give me that power, I will pay you money.”
20-21 But Peter said to him, “You think you can buy God’s power with money, but you are wrong. No way. Only God can give people that power. And God can see that you are not thinking the right way, so he will not give you that power, and he will not let you work with us. Look out. God can finish you up, and finish up your money too. 22 Stop thinking in that really bad way. Turn around and think Gods way. Pray to him and ask him not to punish you for thinking like that. 23 I can see that you are jealous, and that you want to do bad things, and that those bad things are controlling you.”
24 Then Simon said to Peter, “Pray to God for me so that he will not punish me, and those bad things you said will not happen to me.”
25 After that, Peter and John talked to the people there, and they told them more of the message about Jesus. Then they left that town to go back to Jerusalem. They went through a lot of little towns along that road in Samaria country, and they told the good news about Jesus to the people in those towns.
Philip talked to a man from Ethiopia
26 While Philip was in Samaria, one of Gods angel messengers came to him and said, “Get up, and go south along the desert road, you know, the road that goes from Jerusalem to the town called Gaza.” 27 So Philip got up, and he started to go along that road, and he saw a man from Ethiopia country sitting in a trailer, and horses were pulling the trailer along that road. He was the sort of man that couldn’t have any kids. He worked for an important woman called Candace. She was the big boss over Ethiopia. That man was one of her important workers. He looked after all her money. But he had a break from that work and went to Jerusalem to show respect to God, and then he started to go back home along that road. 28 Philip saw him sitting in his trailer, and he was reading God’s book. He was reading the part that Isaiah wrote a long time ago. Isaiah was one of God’s men that told people God’s messages.
29 Then the Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Catch up with that trailer and walk along beside it.”
30 So Philip ran up close to the trailer, and when he was beside it, he heard that man reading from the words that Isaiah wrote in God’s book. Philip asked him, “Can you understand that book you are reading?”
31 The Ethiopian man said, “No, I cant understand it. I need somebody to help me.” Then he asked Philip to climb up into the trailer and sit beside him. 32 He was reading these words in God’s book,
Some people took him away to kill him,
just like men take a sheep away to kill it,
but he was quiet and didn’t say anything.
You know that a sheep is quiet,
and it doesn’t make a noise while men cut off all its wool,
well, he was quiet, just like that.
33 Men shamed him, and they didn’t give him a proper trial in court.
Then they killed him, so now he can’t have any kids.”*
34 And the Ethiopian man said to Philip, “Who was Isaiah talking about? Was he talking about himself or somebody else?”
35 Then Philip told him that Isaiah was talking about Jesus. And he kept on talking, and he told that Ethiopian man the good news about Jesus.
36-37 They kept going along the road, and they came to some water. The Ethiopian man said, “Look, there is some water. I want you to baptise me now.” 38 Then he told the man that was controlling the horses to stop. And the Ethiopian man and Philip went down into the water, and Philip baptised the Ethiopian man.
39 After they came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit quickly took Philip away. The Ethiopian man never saw him again, but he was really happy, and he kept going on his way home.
40 But the Holy Spirit put Philip in a town called Azotus. Philip went around telling people the good news about Jesus. He walked north, and he told the good news about Jesus to the people in all the towns along the way, until he got to the town called Caesarea, and he stayed there.
* 8:1-3 Acts 22:4-5; 26:9-11 * 8:33 Isaiah 53:7-8