16 May. Acts 8:9-13

16 May. Simon the magician seeks to follow Jesus

"There was a man named Simon in that city [Sebaste/Samaria]. Before Philip came there, Simon had practiced magic and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted and called himself a great man."

"All the people - the least important to the most important - paid attention to Simon, saying, 'This man has the power of God, called the Great Power!' Simon had amazed them with his magic so long that the people became his followers."

"But when Philip told them the Good News about the kingdom of God and the power of Jesus [the] Christ [or Messiah - the 'anointed one'], men and women believed Philip and were baptised."

"Simon himself believed, and after he was baptised, he stayed very close to Philip. When he saw the miracles and the powerful things Philip did, Simon was amazed."

          (Acts 8:9-13)



After Philip began spreading the Good News about Jesus in Sebaste, the chief city of Samaria, many Samaritans were healed of their sicknesses, believed in Jesus as their personal saviour, and were baptised as Christians.

Simon the ‘magician’ also believed and was baptised as a follower of Jesus. But did he have the right motives?

We're told by Luke that, for some time, Simon had used occult powers as a 'sorcerer' to fool people into thinking he was someone great and important. In fact, he was a cheat and a charlatan - but he loved the attention and the feeling of importance that this brought him.

In our experience, there are often people on the fringe of Christianity who are seeking personal attention, and would like to think they have insights of great importance that only they possess. They do not usually belong to any one church, but go around different churches and church meetings peddling their great insights into religion. If given the opportunity, they will share these 'insights' during a time of open prayer or testimony - usually just to draw attention to themselves.

Simon was this kind of person. He was arrogant and attention-seeking, and above all, he wanted the power that the followers of Jesus had, in order to impress people.

Simon - and others of his nature - need taking quietly aside by someone with spiritual maturity, so they can lovingly be challenged to confront their insecurities, and come to a more mature relationship with Jesus and the local church. The scene was set for this to happen with Simon in Samaria, and tomorrow we will look at the outcome.

The photo (by Bukvoed) shows remains of Roman Sebaste (Samaria) at Shomron National Park.

You can read more of the story of Simon here tomorrow, or @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/7-journ…/philips-journeys/

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