February 4 – Compassion – Jesus’ far-reaching hand of compassion

Read Acts 8:4-40

He had used Stephen’s martyrdom, and the church’s persecution, to spread His Word.

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (v4)

The Holy Spirit was at it again. His mission: grow the Church. Further the Kingdom of God. Spread the Good News that Messiah had come with salvation for all who would believe and receive. Love the unlovely.

The apostles witnessed His truth all over Jerusalem. In all Judea. Now it was time for Samaria and on to the ends of the earth. (See Acts 1:8.)

So even the Samaritans believed and were baptized. Even the Samaritans, those dirty dogs ever-so-hated and looked-down-upon by the “righteous” nation of Israel, accepted the gift God had offered in His Son.

I imagine a bit of fond remembrance when the apostles heard the news that included even the region despised by so many for their mixed and sordid heritage. I’ll bet their minds raced back to that day by the Samaritan well, the first time they saw Jesus love those unlovely people.

I bet they pictured the woman Jesus sat next to that day. Their conversation. The way He knew all her filth and loved her anyway.

They couldn’t have been at all surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit was for even those Samaritans.

I wonder what Peter and John talked about as they traveled there. Did they argue over who would pray? Who would lay hands on their deep-seeded rivals? Or were they anxious to extend the love and life of Jesus Christ to that region? The one Jesus had so intentionally not forgotten?

Had the rivalry ended for them that day there with Jesus? The day He made it clear He’d come for the despised, neglected, even dirty Samaritans.

Did they remember the fields Jesus spoke of, the ones ripe for harvest? Did they remember details of that day? The way the woman looked? The others who’d believed?

When John and Peter laid their hands on those they’d always deemed so unlovely, believing Jesus’ grace for any who’d receive, Jesus showed Himself true for all that He’d taught.

And the Samaritans got the gift of Jesus. In Spirit. In truth.

Are there people you think aren’t worthy of the Holy Spirit? People about whom Jesus has changed your mind? Have you let Him convince you that He loves even them? That He wants to live in even them?

Bria Wasson

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