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Acts 8:4-25 (ESV)
Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria
4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.
Simon the Magician Believes
9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” 25 Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
Do you think Simon’s words in verse 24 reveal a change in heart?
I do think he had a change of heart. He may have gone through the motions of belief and baptism. The miracles that Peter performed certainly outweighed the ” magic” he possessed. Even after following Philip everywhere, he didn’t understand that the power Philip, Peter, and John possessed had come from God. Simon was still stuck in his old thinking of magic. When Peter and John rebuked him he certainly understood the power of prayer because he asked them to pray for him so that he would be punished for his actions.
Lord, you are so loving, you have given us scriptures that tell us of the powers the Holy Spirit being given to all who call upon you and ask. So many people witnessed your powers and those given to the Apostles. A great many people were healed and so many got to hear the good news. All this while the church was being persecuted. Lord even though I know of your great love and power I still try to accomplish things on my own ” power”. Forgive me, I thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit who can remind me of where all power comes from. Continue to teach me, Lord, that through all trials and tribulations you will give me your peace and strength. I am so grateful for mercies you show me every day, the miracle of life and beauty you provide even in the midst of unrest and turmoil surrounding me every day. Do not let me deceived by the outside world and its false hope. Lord, I pray that your Holy Spirit can use me to help others who need you and share your great love for them.
(Today’s prayer submitted by Jo Schneider)