8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Apparently Luke liked Hondas because there is another accord in Samaria. (Groan)
When Jesus talked to the woman at the well she brought up religion to try and take the focus off her failed personal life. In doing so she revealed the deep roots of the Samaritan people referring way back to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. She also admitted they were waiting for the Messiah. The Jews may have called them half breeds but when it came to faith they definitely shared both the same roots and the same hopes. There is a lesson there isn't there? Sometimes the very ones we hold as our enemies are actually not so different after all.
I have to wonder if Philip was shocked by the reception he received in Samaria. Did his deep cultural bias prejudice him still? Did he remember how receptive the entire village was that day Jesus met the woman at the well or how coldly another Samaritan village treated Him which prompted John to ask for Jesus to nuke them? No matter what his personal thoughts were the city responded as one. Lives were changed. Miracles happened. The Spirit of God had obviously been there well before Philip arrived. It is quite likely that one conversation with that socially rejected woman launched the entire movement. When they saw what Jesus did for her they started to believe He could do anything for anyone.
It is important to note that they heard and/or saw miracles. Some want to experience miracles. Others want to see them for themselves. However a miracle is a miracle whether I saw it, heard about it, or experienced it. The lame walked, the paralyzed were set free and so were the demon possessed.
Demon possessed? What is that? Glad you asked. The Gospels are full of references to demon possession. In our culture which essentially denies the supernatural we think such things are either medically explainable or flat out nonsense. When we do think of demon possession we think of rapid maniacs screeching and foaming at the mouth. Certainly extreme cases like that exist but they are rare. Possession does not begin like that. It is a step by step process of losing control. First we call it an addiction. An area of your life where your body has more control over you than your mind. You want to have control but you don't. You want to be free but you aren't. Maybe it's something as legal and harmless as food. Maybe it's alcohol and drugs or pornography. What it is is inconsequential really. What matters is that you aren't in control. As soon as Satan manages to get one string on you he works on getting another. A fully possessed person is like a puppet. They look like a person but someone else is pulling the strings. They are like a prisoner trapped inside a body that is run by other forces. Extreme cases are so bad that even the voice is taken prisoner and the very words spoken are no longer under the control of the person whose voice it is.
It is important also to understand that Satan can't take control of anyone. That control has to be given to him. However once he has it, he will not easily relinquish it. He is a tyrant. Like a pimp or slave master he owns you. He's the puppet master and we dance to his tune.
The most important thing to recognize in all of this, is that freedom can't be achieved by will power. Slaves are slaves. Only two things can free a slave. The owner grants freedom or the power of the owner is broken by one who has more power and the slave is set free just as God freed the Israelites from slavery to Pharaoh.
If we are honest we are all slaves to some degree. One or more areas of our lives are not in our control. It may be our thoughts. It may be our words. It may be our temper. It may be our eating habits. It may be sexual. It could be anything but you can be certain Satan is studying all of us to find a foothold.
We need not be afraid. The same joy that came to that city of possessed "half breeds" can be ours. Satan is powerless against Jesus. We will know the Truth and the Truth will set us free and we will be free indeed.