My Devotion: Acts 8:4-25. God Bless you ~ Zoey
Simon the Wizard
8:4 Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus. Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God’s action, they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!
9-11 Previous to Philip’s arrival, a certain Simon had practiced magic in the city, posing as a famous man and dazzling all the Samaritans with his wizardry. He had them all, from little children to old men, eating out of his hand. They all thought he had supernatural powers, and called him “the Great Wizard.” He had been around a long time and everyone was more or less in awe of him.
Father God you are immutable. You are faithful and true, mighty and sure. Impostors – like Simon the Sorcerer, may come and go. But you, our Father, will watch over your Living Word; it will do your good pleasure and it will not return void. For in your wisdom, sent the Apostle Philip to remind the Samaritans not to listen to Simon the magician, as we read in this passage.
12-13 But when Philip came to town announcing the news of God’s kingdom and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, they forgot Simon and were baptized, becoming believers right and left! Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip’s shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn’t leave Philip’s side.
I thank you for those presently, who are going out into all the world preaching the Message of the Messiah. Yes, this same present evil seen in the world today is no different as was in this passage telling of Simon the Magician. This man had believed and been baptized hoping to gain the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. Foolishly thinking he could be “like” Philip and then once again, manipulate the people in Samaria to believe that he was greater than the Apostles sent by your Son, Jesus the Risen Savior of the world.
14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God’s Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn’t yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.
Father God, your timing is perfect. The Holy Spirit had not fallen upon the people until the apostles Peter and John had arrived from Jerusalem. You were faithful to Philip, so that he would have the support of Peter and John. Samaria was and still is so very dear to your heart, Lord.
18-19 When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, “Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!”
20-23 Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust.”
Father God, the price that your Son paid on the Cross as our Messiah is not measured in silver or gold. It is not a commodity to be sold or bought. It is an eternal gift – freely given and it is forever only yours to give. Here we read in your Word that Simon’s deceptive manipulation was for monetary gain and power. Praise you, God, for you are NOT for sale! Nor is Your Holy Spirit deceived. Help us to have the same bold conviction as the Apostle Peter did to rebuke those who have ill intentions and holding hidden selfish agendas. Give us the wisdom, the transparency and unity in the Holy Spirit to walk out our salvation before you, Lord. Amen.
24 “Oh!” said Simon, “pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!”
25 And with that, the apostles were on their way, continuing to witness and spread the Message of God’s salvation, preaching in every Samaritan town they passed through on their return to Jerusalem.
[The Message translation]