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Dear COA Family,

In Acts 8, we read a wonderful account of an astounding revival in the early church after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city” Acts 8:5-8.

The entire city of Samaria believed Philip’s preaching of the salvation of Christ to them. There must have been thousands of men, women and children touched by the gospel then. What a revival! What amazing sights they must have witnessed seeing many healed and delivered from demons! What joy they must have experienced as a result of many sinners turning to faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of their sins!

The revival must have resulted in a total transformation of the life of the city.

Yet what impressed me about this account was that the revival almost never happened.

Earlier during the ministry of Jesus on earth, he had sent messengers to the Samaritans to receive him on his way to Jerusalem. However, the people refused and rejected him. As a result, hisdisciples were indignant on his behalf.

Jesus’ disciples James and John then asked him, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down
from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54).

Instead of acceding to their request, Jesus rebuked them for their suggestion. He knew that the time for their repentance was not ripe yet. And he refused to be offended by the disrespect that was shown to him by the Samaritans. He then left for the next village.

Jesus’ act of mercy and forgiveness towards the Samaritans, despite being slighted by them, paved the way for the Samaritans to later turn to him wholeheartedly in the book of Acts.

Beloved, how is our attitude today when someone insults us, rejects us or speaks badly about us when we want the best for them by sharing the gospel with them?

Do we take offence easily? Do we harbour the hurt and hope that they get hurt in similar measures in return? Do we resolve never to share the good news with them? These are all understandable human emotions.

Yet, in this season of Lent, God is calling us to respond according to the ways of his kingdom and love. He is calling us to be willing to forgive when ignored by others. He is calling us to show mercy instead when affronted. He is calling us to lay down our rights when we feel that they are trampled

The upshot is this – as we do this, we are instead sowing the seeds for a miraculous revival that the Lord will bring to their lives in His time. May we all be instruments of good for the Lord and not for evil.

God bless,
Revd Ian