Day 27: Acts 8:9-25
9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
25 After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
In today’s passage we encounter a magician named Simon who had gained a great reputation through his magic powers. Then Philip shows up on the scene, and Simon recognizes that here is one who is more powerful than he is. In verse 13 Luke tells us that as Simon listened to the gospel he “believed and was baptized.” If Simon were in most Christian churches today and he said he believed and was baptized, we would add him to our list of converts and move on. This, however, is not how the story goes.
When Simon sees the apostles laying hands on people and the power of the Holy Spirit, he approaches Peter and offers money for Peter to give him this gift. This is where we get the word “Simony,” which means to buy spiritual power or office. Peter responds very definitively and says “your heart is not right before God...I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
The problem with Simon is that his believing and baptism were external signs of conversion, but his heart was not transformed. As you think about this story, I encourage you to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Has my heart been transformed or am I only a Christian on the outside?”
True conversion is a transformation of the heart that is then displayed by a life of obedience and holiness.
Justin Lewis | Facilities Director/YAMs Pastor