Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them.…
The expression here used is a frequent one in the Acts of the Apostles; e.g. "preaching the gospel;" "preached the Word;" "preaching peace by Jesus Christ;" "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ;" "preaching the Lord Jesus;" "Jesus whom Paul preached;" "according to the preaching of Jesus." The proper idea of preaching is "heralding," "proclaiming," declaring a message; and the old prophets of Judaism were true preachers; so were the angels at Bethlehem, and so was John the Baptist. Philip the evangelist went to Samaria, where there was quite as intense an expectation of the Messiah as could be found among the Jews, and to the Samaritans Philip proclaimed that Messiah, or Christ, had come, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and that his resurrection - which was abundantly proved - was the crowning attestation and proof that he was the Christ, the Son of the Most High God. What is involved and included in "preaching Christ may best be found by the consideration of a few illustrative cases.
1. Christ preached himself to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus; and his points were the necessity for the sufferings of Christ and his subsequent resurrection, and the absolute truth of the Messiahship and Lordship of Christ.
2. Christ's command," Go into all the world," etc., sends us back to the announcement of the angels at Bethlehem; they preached a Savior, not a salvation.
3. The apostles preached Christ at Pentecost, and at the healing of the lame man, and declared Jesus as both having died and risen again, and being exalted with present saving power.
4. Stephen preached, in his defense, the Messiahship and death of the Lord Jesus, closing with a firm declaration that he was risen.
5. Philip preached unto the eunuch, and his subject was Jesus the Key to the prophecies, suffering and triumphant.
6. St. Paul preached to the Philippian jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." The peculiarity of the early preaching evidently was the presentation to men of a personal, living Savior, with whom men may have personal dealings for their full salvation. Then true preaching must present a living Christ to men as having (tone all for them, able to be all to them, and to do all in them, and so the true preaching of Christ covers his whole redemptive work. Preaching Christ sets him forth before men in his cradle, on his cross, and with his crown.
I. IS HIS CRADLE. Or, Christ in incarnation, the Divine Man. This is the mystery of Bethlehem. It may be shown
(1) that the Man Christ Jesus reveals God to man, and man to himself;
(2) gives example of the human life that can alone be acceptable to God; and
(3) is the assurance of the Divine sympathy with sinning, suffering man. He "took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham," and "being found in fashion as a man" he is able to save us men.
II. ON HIS cross. Or, Christ in sacrifice, the Divine Sufferer. This is the mystery of Calvary. A suffering Savior shows:
1. The intensity of sin: its utmost effort crucified him.
2. The helplessness of sin. It did its worst, and was defeated. "It was not possible that he should be holden of it." A suffering Savior:
3. Attracts men. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." No persuasions can so urge and win men as those that come from the cross where our Sin-bearer died.
4. Removes out of the way the hindrances to our fellowship with God. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
III. WITH HIS CROWN. Or, Christ in triumph, the Divine King. This is the mystery of Olivet. The kingly Jesus is:
1. The ἄρχηγον, Leader of his people, "the Captain of their salvation," their Bringer-on.
2. The Head and Lord of the new kingdom, "exalted to give repentance and remission." "Head over all things to his Church."
3. The Bestower of the Holy Spirit, which is his present inward agency, himself abiding with us and in us. So we preach Christ, the Man; the Divine Man; ours, our Brother; and with this preaching we arouse interest in him. We preach Christ, the Sufferer, who draws us to himself in sympathy and love. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." We preach Christ the King, and bid you bow down now and submit to his gracious and holy reign. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.