“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.” Acts 8.9-13
The power of the Gospel has the power to save. It’s not what we do but what the Lord chooses to do through us in the work of the Holy Spirit. When we have success in ministry, it should never be – “Look what I did,” but rather ”See how Jesus loves and saves his people!”
When the Word of God began to spread, all kinds of people were caught up in God’s net. One of those persons was a sorcerer named Simon. Now sorcery is the divination of spirits. Taking, manipulating, coercing and being controlled by that which is not of God, but that which is spiritual. These spirits would certainly be demonic forces working through Simon to amaze the people and do ”great” things. And Simon, boasted in himself that he was something great. This is the difference between a man of God and a person who allows evil spirits to guide his way.
The people of Samaria had been following Simon for a long time but when Philip came to the region, and began to perform miraculous signs by the power of the Holy Spirit, many people believed and were baptized. And Simon himself also believed and was baptized. And the Scripture tells us, ”He followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”
As we will soon find out from Simon, he was addicted to the signs and not the Savior. He wanted the miracles but had not yet the mature of faith to seek the Person of Christ over the performance of his works. Simons initial surrender to Jesus still lacked a complete faith. He was amazed at the miracles but didn’t fully understand the meaning behind that power.
Sometimes we become enamored with what God can do supernaturally. We want God for what God can give us and do for us rather than wanting him for who he is as a personal loving God and Father. Sometimes, like Simon, we misappropriate the relationship. Walking with God is a love relationship and not a religious assignment. We should desire to know him because of who he is, and how he loves us in return — for who we are.
Have you been seeking the thrill of the miraculous rather than the person of Christ? Have you been striving after the ”greater gifts” (1 Cor. 12.31) without seeking the Giver of those gifts?
“O Lord God, its easy to blame Simon and accuse him of falsehood, power and greed. But in truth, we all reside within that realm. We find that we desire greater things. We want to be used by you, sometimes for our own gain. Sometimes we ask for more of you, when it’s really less of us that you require. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power and love. Help us seek the Giver before the gifts. Help us long to deepen the love relationship first and find strength and help in our time of need. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen