Thursday, 30 June 2022
So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. Acts 8:25
With the narrative concerning Simon complete, Luke now continues with the actions of Peter and John, beginning with, “So when they had testified.”
The word used, diamarturomai, is stronger than simply testifying. It is the giving of full and clear testimony. HELPS Word Studies says it “is always in the Greek middle voice which emphasizes witnessing done with a high level of self-involvement, i.e., with strong personal interest motivating it.” Hence, it may be more suitably translated “having earnestly testified.” They gave their earnest testimony “and preached.”
The word here is not the same as the last clause. It means “to say.” Hence, this first clause should read, “They then, indeed, having earnestly testified and having spoken the word of the Lord.” The words give a full description of the care of Peter and John for their mission. They proclaimed the word of the Lord, and they also were fully and intimately involved in testifying to what they personally knew concerning its fulfillment in Christ. Once that was complete in the area where they were, it says, “they returned to Jerusalem.”
This mission in Samaria is coming to a close. It is now understood by the apostles that not only was the gospel to be preached to those in Samaria (Acts 1:8) but that the people who believed were given the Holy Spirit. As this is now known, the report of this can be taken back to the apostles in Jerusalem for their understanding. The people of Israel are no longer the only focal point of God’s attention. Something far greater is coming about. The verse next ends with the fact that on their way back, the apostles were also “preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.”
Here, the word “preaching” is correct. It is the same word, euaggelizó, used so far in verses 8:4 and 8:12. It means to evangelize or preach the good news. This is what Philip did originally in “the city of Samaria,” and now these two are doing it in the smaller country towns and villages as they wind their way back to Jerusalem.
Life application: Suppose you go on a short-term mission trip. You are excited about going, you raise the funds to join, you get your tickets and such and you go with the mission group. When you get there, you are told it will be a public bus that takes 10 hours to get to the location out in the country. You do your mission work, get back on the bus, head to the airport, and fly home.
It was a fun time. You got energized about helping others in a remote place. But did you talk to a single person on the way to the mission spot? Did you talk to anyone on the way back home? What was the point of your mission work? If building a house or a church, or helping to plant various crops, is all that you did then your time was not well spent.
The people at the mission site have all been evangelized. The building you helped put up could have been done without your help. You just helped it get done sooner. But the people that you passed by on the streets and towns you stopped at never got to hear about Jesus. The same is true with your vacations at home, your shopping at the store each week, and your visit to the restaurant last night.
Are you hoping someone else will tell all these people about Jesus? Try taking tracts and handing them out. Or try something really fun and do what Philip did in verse 8:4 and what Peter and John are doing in this verse. Try telling people about what you know. If not you, then who?
Lord God, someone told us about Jesus, and we responded. Isn’t it our time to do the same for others? Help us to be willing to share the saving message of Jesus to the people we encounter along life’s path. May it be so, and may we start today. Help us in this, O God. Amen.