Acts 8:5-8 :
Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. The multitudes listened with one accord to the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many of those who had them. They came out, crying with a loud voice. Many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. There was great joy in that city.
After the rejection in Jerusalem, Philip took the opportunity to go to Samaria. Jesus had told them that they were supposed to go there after the spread the gospel in Jerusalem and that’s exactly what Philip did.
Remember the study in John, that this was the city of “the woman at the well.” This was the one that Jesus had told about the living water that would cure thirst forever.
The living water, of the Holy Spirit, gushed into the city as Philip “proclaimed to them the Christ.” The people were ready for it. “The multitudes listened with one accord” and were changed because of the message and the miracles. What an amazing time that must have been for a whole city to have “great joy!” It is difficult for me to feel that kind of oneness in my city. It is likely that Saul heard about this and it is also likely that he wasn’t happy about it. It is common for unhappy people to be filled with hatred toward those who feel joy.
I have found that people who are filled with hatred are slaves to that hatred and those who are filled with joy have found freedom from what used to keep them down. People who are not filled with joy can get very jealous of those who are not working as hard as they are to get joy that they haven’t been able to earn. When God comes and gives other people joy that they don’t deserve, it can expose the hatred of the self-righteous ones who strive to reach God by their good works.