ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 8
With the first martyrdom of a believer in the Messiah of Israel, the gospel was beginning to flow outward from Jerusalem and gradually out of Israel to the regions beyond. As a nation, Israel had finally rejected all the pleas and preaching of the apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. While initially opposed to the evangelism of the apostles and disciples of Christ and somewhat tolerated their work amongst the Jewish believers as they could do nothing in the face of those signs and wonders performed by these servants of the Lord, they were now moving unto the next phase in persecuting the saints of the Lord. One notable character introduced to this early history of the Church was Saul who later became the most famous apostle of the Lord ministering to the Gentiles.
Acts 8:1: And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
This man Saul was a prominent figure among the religious elite of the Jews. He was a highly educated and well-brought up Pharisee whose zeal for the holy things of Jehovah God was unmatched by his peers to the extent of persecuting the saints. Recorded here was a statement concerning Saul’s involvement in the martyrdom of Stephen. The death of Stephen was approved by those members of the council present including Saul. Saul’s participation by giving consent to those who killed Stephen was revealed by him again in the later chapters with added details not mentioned here.
After the death of Stephen, full-fledged persecution against the members of the church at Jerusalem began. The persecuted saints were thus scattered abroad but remaining in Israel. The apostles however, remained behind in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was still the headquarter of the founding church and hence the apostles of Christ continued to reside in this city and made their appearance felt there contending with those enemies of the Lord.
Acts 8:2: And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
While many saints were scattered after the death of Stephen, devout men of the Lord buried Stephen and mourned for him in Jerusalem. The honour bestowed upon Stephen with the Lord standing up in heaven for him was only recorded here for the comfort and encouragement of those still labouring for the Lord below. Those who mourned for Stephen would one day rejoice when they see him again face to face in glory. Stephen had entered into his rest in glory in the presence of the Lord while his brethren continued to labour for the Lord on earth.
Acts 8:3: As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Acts 8:4: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
So on earth, Saul not satisfied with putting Stephen to death, persecuted the church. Women were not exempted in this exercise of terror and the saints were thrown into prison for their faith in the Messiah of Israel. But as far as Saul was concerned, the Messiah these men and women believed in had yet to come. The terrible punishment these faithful believers in Christ suffered at the hands of Saul did not go unnoticed by the Lord who called them and saved them for His glory in the coming Kingdom. Those managed to escape were scattered abroad preaching the word of God concerning the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
As to why the apostles of Christ were not persecuted during this time, from previous experience, those man-made jails could not keep these apostles there for very long. It would be rather embarrassing if there would be other episode of prison-break drama occurring, which could turn even more people to join this growing Jesus sect. Persecuting a non apostle like Stephen seemed to work for them and so it was expedient to pursue this strategy for the time being.
Acts 8:5: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
Acts 8:6: And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
Acts 8:7: For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Acts 8:8: And there was great joy in that city.
Philip was among those chosen together with Stephen to serve tables at the church in Jerusalem. He went down to Samaria during this time of persecution. Persecution might look like the work of the Lord was thwarted by the enemies of the cross; however, looking at the bigger picture, more was accomplished for the Lord. While those believers congregated in Jerusalem earlier to await the return of the Messiah to restore the Kingdom unto Israel, it seemed like the church had not done enough to reach the lost sheep of the house of Israel outside of the capital city. It was during this time appointed by the Lord according to the foreknowledge of God that the nation of Israel would finally reject Him and His servants that these saints went abroad publishing the good news of Christ to great and small in other regions of Israel. They were forced to move out of their comfort zone to attempt greater things for the Lord.
So Philip preached Christ to the Samaritans who were not highly regarded by the Jews. While there was no prerequisite for those seven servants to be apt to teach chosen to serve tables, this did not mean they were inapt teachers of the word. Stephen was such a great teacher and orator that the Lord honoured him to be the first martyr for the church. Philip was another great teacher and preacher and he preached Christ with much unction and power with miracles performed to authenticate his message to those lost souls in the city of Samaria. As a result, much was accomplished and victory won and there was great joy in that city under the influence and presence of Philip. The healing and preaching ministry of Philip in Samaria would be getting a fair amount of attention soon.
It would do well to note that those religious elite in power over the people of Israel was doing nothing for the people in Samaria and what they were good at was to be dogmatic with their written oracles but with no personal applications and powers to deliver those in bondage and sickness. So Philip was instrumental in opening the gospel door and invited the Samaritans to the church of the living God. No apostles of Christ went to Samaria to work with these people as yet.
Acts 8:9: But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
Acts 8:10: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Acts 8:11: And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
A certain man Simon entered the scene at this juncture. The lessons from this episode concerning this man Simon should not be underestimated. It concerned spiritual truths regarding this man’s background, his faith, and his corruption in the practice of his newfound religion. Before the coming of Philip, Simon was already a well-known character in Samaria. It was recorded that he bewitched the people there and he elevated himself to eminence in the sight of those inhabitants who looked to him as some great one. This man was a practitioner of sorceries and those people regarded him as the great power of God. Simon was their “apostle” under the spell of his sorceries and he exercised great power over them.
However with the arrival of Philip, the sun was setting on Simon and his fortune, place and power over the people was about to change. So like any good old philosopher babbling nonsensical clichés like the only constant was change, Simon was changing himself as well in the light of the latest “fad” of the people in Samaria. If he did not go with the tide, he would be retrenched from his money making adventure very soon. Simon was indeed a seasoned chameleon abiding with the people under different covers to suit his own survival and fortune. His leeching capability was perfected into a fine art.
Acts 8:12: But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:13: Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
So when the people in Samaria heard the preaching from Philip, they believed what Philip told them concerning the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the woman at the well dealt with by the Lord Jesus Christ many years ago where many believed Christ during that time, much more now believed and they were even baptized by Philip like any convert would seek after believing the message brought to them.
Normally, the Jews would not like to have dealings with the Samaritans and this attitude was present in the disciples as well when they passed through Samaria with the Lord during His earthly ministry where John even suggested the Lord to call for fire from heaven to burn up those inhabitants like what Elijah did to his enemies in the past. However, a new era had dawned on the people there and multitudes were turning to the Lord. Simon, the sorcerer sensed the turning tide of his make-believe religion that got him fame and gain. It was recorded that Simon himself believed as well when he saw those Samaritans turning to the Lord. Like any believers in Samaria, he submitted himself to be baptized by Philip as well.
That was not the end of Simon’s conversion. He continued with Philip and he had a keen interest in the work of Philip and in particular, he was very interested in the signs and miracles performed by Philip. Simon himself was no stranger to miracles for he was a sorcerer who had bewitched the people of Samaria all those time. As a sorcerer, he was a magician. His profession was to enthrall, entertain and trick the people into believing in him. He could do what people could not normally do. As such, people looked to him as some great one with great power from God. Like the magicians in the court of Egypt and Moses contesting for eminence and true power, Simon realized he had met his match. All those signs and miracles performed by Philip were authentic and exclusive and there was no way he could replicate those amazing acts of Philip. With Simon continuing with Philip, he could certainly pass off as a true believer in the Messiah of Israel as well.
Acts 8:14: Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Acts 8:15: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Acts 8:16: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Acts 8:17: Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
News spread concerning the conversion of the Samaritans under the preaching of Philip. The apostles in Jerusalem were notified that the people in Samaria had received the word of God. So the church sent the apostles Peter and John to Samaria. The coming of the apostles was for the express purpose of imparting to them the Holy Ghost. The converts of Philip, though believing his message, were only baptized in water by Philip in the name of the Lord Jesus. This did not automatically confer the Holy Ghost upon them. This was during the transitional period of the early church and the way the Lord dealt with His people and the world at large was still evolving over time. It would be a tragic mistake to apply any of those modes of baptism and reception of the Holy Ghost to present day believers without taking into consideration the progressive revelation of the grace of God to His people as God’s dealing with Israel was shifting to the Gentiles.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Ghost came upon the servants of Jehovah God. In particular, the prophets of old were moved by the Holy Ghost during their prophetic ministries. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21) Notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost came and left people like king Saul. The gift of the Holy Ghost was an event yet to take place during the Lord’s earthly ministry. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:39)
So before the cross, the Holy Ghost coming upon men was not a permanent abiding presence. As such, on the day of Pentecost after the apostles and disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost, Peter preached and offered those who responded to his message the gift of the Holy Ghost. He then instructed those repentant sinners to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
Thus these saved sinners received the gift of the Holy Ghost when they were baptized after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel. But when those sinners in Samaria believed the message preached by Philip, they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by Philip and not any apostles. So the apostles prayed for Philip’s converts in Samaria. The apostles also laid hands on these converts and they received the Holy Ghost as a result.
Prior to the conversion of the Samaritans, those converts in Jerusalem received the Holy Ghost when they responded to the preaching of the apostles when they were baptized in water by the apostles. The apostles had authority from the Lord to lay hands on converts to impart the Holy Ghost to them. Philip apparently, not an apostle, was not given this authority to impart the Holy Ghost to his converts though he could perform signs and miracles to prove his calling from the Lord.
Acts 8:18: And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Acts 8:19: Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
With the arrival of the apostles Peter and John, Simon was even more amazed. When he thought Philip endowed with power from above to perform those signs and miracles was some great one greater than he, the apostles of Christ could do even more. As such, this got him all excited. This must have been a moment of revelation to him. These apostles were actually the men to work with instead of Philip. He was following so close to Philip all this while and now he found that he ought to get even closer to the apostles of Christ. How Philip performed signs and miracles could take a back seat for now. The technical aspects of those miracles could wait. What was more important was to get this power of laying on of hands from the apostles. He could be back in business again real soon once the apostles and Philip left the city. His position and power over the inhabitants in Samaria would revert to the former state and these people would fall under his influence and manipulation again.
So this unscrupulous man had the gall to approach the apostles attempting to purchase this power from them. Simon was a man who lived for money and the Samaritans were his money tree where his schemes of putting them under bondage of his sorceries had enriched him for a long time. If only he could purchase this power from these apostles and get a franchise to operate this Holy Ghost impartation business, he could even become much more richer and his fame would have shot up to high heaven. His stigma of temporary submission to Philip would be removed and he would be a notch above Philip who could not lay hands on converts to impart the Holy Ghost.
How this scheming and conniving sorcerer ever on the lookout for such business opportunity even in the realm of the holy things of the Lord was unimaginable. No one in the past ever approached the apostles for such power using money. The powers the apostles received were from above and they were not for sale. Simon’s audacity definitely incurred the wrath of the apostles. Perhaps he had never heard about the episode concerning the couple meeting their tragic end when they lied to the Holy Ghost before the apostle Peter.
Acts 8:20: But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Acts 8:21: Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Acts 8:22: Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Acts 8:23: For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
The apostle Peter of course soundly rebuked Simon immediately. Peter charged Simon for having a heart that was not right in the sight of God. Indeed his heart was very perverse. Being a sorcerer who bewitched people, he himself was bewitched by his own covetousness and wickedness imagining that he could be some great one who could exercise power over people. A call for repentance was issued to him so that God might forgive him for this sin that began in his wicked heart.
Peter’s perception of Simon was not unfounded. Coming from a background of sorcery, Simon was a victim of his own wickedness and folly. He was under bondage of sin for playing with the power of darkness in the business of sorcery. His state of being in the gall of bitterness was undoubtedly true. He was some great one to the Samaritans but when Philip showed up preaching the Kingdom of God and Christ to the people, his place of power and fame was gone. Even he himself had to believe, if he really believed Philip’s preaching at all, and had to submit to Philip’s authority and to be baptized by him.
What were the people thinking about Simon after his conversion? Were they angry with him for fooling them and abusing and manipulating them for so long? His esteem among the people in Samaria no doubt had gone down south very quickly when Philip came unto the scene and replaced him in no time. Simon’s sole monopoly over the people in Samaria became history. Would not Simon indulge in a state of bitterness? What if he could purchase this power of laying on of hands from the apostles and operate a franchise on his own? He could quickly regain his former status and even thumb his nose at Philip perhaps.
Moreover, Simon’s background was questionable in the light of Scriptures. For the Scriptures revealed that Judas Iscariot the betrayer of the Lord had a human father whose surname was Simon. Could this Simon of Samaria indeed be the father of Judas Iscariot?
Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. (John 6:70&71; 13:26)
In fact, these two men bore some uncanny similarities. Judas was a devil and his father was Simon. This Simon of Samaria was a sorcerer, perhaps having a devil as well. The Jews regarded the Samaritans being half Jews as people prone to be possessed by devils. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? (John 8:48) These two characters were devilish in nature as far as Scriptural revelations were concerned.
Both men loved money and had money. Judas betrayed the Lord for money while Simon hoped to purchase spiritual power with money. Both men were thieves. Judas stole money and pretending to be spiritual and pious and even questioned why the gift from a woman given to the Lord to anoint His body for the burial was not sold and given to the poor. Simon pretended to be some great spiritual one and stole money from the people in Samaria with his sorceries.
Both men’s occupations were associated with spiritual business and they appeared to be spiritual before men. Both men appeared to be believers in the Lord but their fruits proved otherwise. Whether Simon was the father of Judas Iscariot, it could be pure conjecture but one thing was true about both of them; they were both involved in the dark art of hoodwinking people and masters of deception. They were both given over to the power of darkness.
Concerning the power to impart the gift of the Holy Ghost, Simon definitely did not meet the qualifications. The apostles were themselves given the Holy Ghost personally by the Lord after His resurrection.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:21-23)
These apostles received the Holy Ghost directly from the Lord and only they had the power to impart the Holy Ghost to converts which included remitting and retaining sins of people they dealt with. In particular, Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He was given power to bind and loose on earth concerning the kingdom.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
The power of the apostles in binding and remitting of sin cannot be underestimated. The same was true concerning imparting the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was why the Samaritans had to wait for the apostles to impart to them the gift of the Holy Ghost. This power to impart the Holy Ghost was not transferable. Simon had wasted his time and effort trying to acquire such spiritual power in which he had no part nor lot in this matter. Simon was no apostle except an apostle who majored in sorcery for power and gain for the kingdom of darkness. Hence Peter commanded Simon to repent and pray for forgiveness.
Acts 8:24: Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Instead of repenting, Simon requested Peter to pray for him. Why Simon could not repent and pray on his own was rather questionable. Repentance is a personal exercise and praying for forgiveness cannot be done by proxies. Simon should consider himself fortunate that Peter did not deal with him the way he dealt with the couple who lied to the Holy Ghost. With no record of Simon repenting and Peter remitting his sin, the sin remained with him would be a more probable conclusion.
Acts 8:25: And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
With the greed and wickedness of this sorcerer exposed, the questionable conversion of Simon had come to an end. As for the work in Samaria, the apostles continued testifying and preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans before returning to Jerusalem as the capital city was still the headquarter of the church in Jerusalem.
Acts 8:26: And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Acts 8:27: And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Acts 8:28: Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Philip having accomplished his mission in Samaria received another mission of monumental proportion. Philip’s ministry at Samaria no doubt was a resounding success with the coming of the apostles to confirm those converts with the gift of the Holy Ghost. This time however, with the gospel flowing out from Jerusalem and now arriving at Samaria, the Gentiles very soon would have the gospel door opened to them as well.
While the apostles were directly attending unto the Lord without distraction requiring the church to look out for servants to serve table in the church at Jerusalem, Philip, one of those servants chosen to serve table was directly called by the Lord to labour in regions beyond Jerusalem. From Samaria north of Jerusalem, Philip was called to travel south to Gaza, a desert land. Such traveling at a moment’s notice especially to places not very hospitable would require faith in God to obey. For a faithful man like Philip so close to the Lord, such an order would be obeyed without question. Not much information was given to him except for the direction in which he had to travel and God’s will would be revealed as Philip took the first step trusting the Lord by traveling south away from the mission field in Samaria in which he was still very useful to teach and preach the gospel there.
As it turned out when Philip was traveling towards Gaza, he was to meet an important person, an eunuch from Ethiopia. This eunuch was the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia and he was returning home after worshipping at Jerusalem. The man was then traveling on a chariot reading the book of the prophet Isaiah when Philip met him.
Acts 8:29: Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Acts 8:30: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Acts 8:31: And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Acts 8:32: The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
Acts 8:33: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
Acts 8:34: And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Acts 8:35: Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Philip was ordered to join the man on the chariot. It was understood that this man needed a teacher to teach and guide him concerning the portion of Scriptures he was reading from Isaiah 53. He wished to know who that suffering person was and so Philip preached to him Jesus who was that suffering Saviour, the Lamb of God which took away the sins of the world. This was a passage the Jews could not reconcile including those disciples who could not understand what the Lord taught them from the Old Testament.
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26)
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)
The Lord had to teach His disciples that the Old Testament prophesied of the suffering of their Messiah. What the Jews were looking for was glory and deliverance from their enemies when their Messiah came. They were only interested in the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. Little did they expect that their Messiah must suffer first before the Kingdom and glory to come.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44-47)
So repentance was first preached in Jerusalem concerning this suffering Messiah who did not remain in the grave. The Messiah, Jesus Christ is now in heaven waiting to return to establish the Kingdom on earth. Now this good news was preached elsewhere in Samaria and even this single individual from Ethiopia God specifically sent Philip to preach to him the gospel of Christ. Obviously, this man whose heart was right who sought the God of Israel was not left without a witness of the resurrection of Christ. Philip was the chosen vessel who traveled a long journey taken away from a successful ministry in Samaria to minister to him. The preaching of the gospel is a commission given to believers in Christ and not to angels. So Philip was indeed a faithful servant of the Lord in carrying out the great commission to preach the gospel to the lost without racial distinction whether they were Jews or Gentiles.
Acts 8:36: And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Acts 8:37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
While they traveled and with this man believing everything Philip preached to him, he requested for the administration of water baptism when he found some water along the way. Philip did not tell him to be baptized or offered to baptize him. Philip even testified that water baptism was meant for believers only. Recorded here was the statement that this eunuch testified of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ before Philip baptized him.
This is an important doctrine on water baptism. Water baptism can only be administered to qualified candidates. No one had been baptized in water when they had not believed in the Lord. John the Baptist only baptized those who came and brought forth fruits meet for repentance. The apostles and disciples only baptized those who came for repentance believing in the Lord. This Ethiopian eunuch was no exception. He openly testified of his faith in the Lord before he was baptized in water.
Once again, those modern English versions like the NIV and NASB removed this verse where this man gave an open testimony concerning his faith in Christ before he was allowed to be baptized. Such deliberate attempt to remove the testimony of this man in Christ opens the door for candidates with questionable background to be given the privilege to receive water baptism. Water baptism is not a means of salvation. Some may mistakenly think that they are saved because they have been baptized in water. This kind of damage to sound doctrine is incalculable where salvations of soul are at stake.
Acts 8:38: And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Acts 8:39: And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:40: But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
The mode of water baptism was clearly by immersion as both men went into the water. Scriptural water baptism has to be immersion and not pouring or sprinkling as this ordinance is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ openly testified by the candidate who has become a believer in Christ. Pouring and sprinkling distort this picture.
As for the conversion of this Ethiopian eunuch, his baptism by Philip was sufficient and no apostle was sent after him to pray for him and lay hands on him to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This transitional period of the church age where the gospel was going outward would also reveal changes to the manner in which the way the gospel was preached and received by the audience. The impact concerning the salvation of this Ethiopian eunuch to the nation of Ethiopia would only be fully revealed in glory. The Lord sought out great means to reach even this man, a Gentile proselyte to receive the gospel of Christ and this showed that the gospel was not meant for the Jews and the nation of Israel only. Moreover, no one would be left out of salvation be they Jews or Gentiles when their hearts seek after the true and living God.
When Philip ended this extraordinary gospel mission, he was caught away to preach in other cities and ended up in a northern coastal city in Israel. So with the persecution of the saints in Jerusalem, the gospel was spreading out of Jerusalem and many in other regions had the gospel preached to them. As a result, great victory was won by the church despite the persecution of the church and the sufferings of the saints. There was no turning back of the gospel clock as the wind of change was now on its way to establish a Church made up mostly of Gentiles in the coming days where Israel had been set aside after their rejection of their Messiah and His servants.