Today we continue our journey through the Book of Acts and look at Acts 8:9-25, which is the story of a man from Samaria named Simon. He was a local sorcerer/magician who had been mastering his craft for a long time. Many people believed him to be divinely gifted, and he was highly regarded because of it.
The passage tells us that Philip was in Simon’s hometown of Samaria, sharing the gospel message. He was sharing how the person of Jesus had changed his life, and that because of that message, many men and women became believers in Jesus and were baptized. Simon was one of those and began following Philip around everywhere, dumbfounded by the signs and miracles he was witnessing. When he witnessed the apostles laying hands on people, seeing them change instantly, he wanted to be able to do that too. Simon offered money for the ability to bring the Holy Spirit with a touch. Simon’s life of sorcery and magic confused him into thinking it was some sort of magic trick. The story finishes with Peter rebuking Simon because of his actions, encouraging him to repent. Feeling convicted, Simon asked for prayer.
Why is this story in the Bible? I think it’s because, just like with Simon, our own life experiences get in the way of the simple truth of the gospel. With all that is happening in our lives, we tend to lose focus on the truths of Scripture. We start thinking we need more than we have to make a real difference. We think that we need to know “tricks”, to maybe be someone else, or act a certain way to be more qualified to share the gospel. Instead of accepting that Jesus simply loves us no matter what, that he wants us to accept the gift that He gives, and to love others the same way.
Don’t get confused by our life experiences like Simon did. You and I are needed right where we are. Remember, God chooses normal, unqualified, everyday sinners like you and me to tell and show others the way. To be authentic difference makers for the Kingdom. To be bold even if we’re not confident, or fumble over our words, or if we fear persecution from others. He’ll turn the misery we have sometimes, into our ministry. The Holy Spirit will help us to use our own story to point people to Christ. To help our words become His. May this happen here for us, in your own communities, and throughout the world.