Simon the sorcerer considered himself a big deal. He had used his sorcery to establish himself as a big shot in his area. He was what you could call ‘famous’ among the town folk. He believed he had it all figured out. Then the disciples of Jesus came along…
By Heather Djunga
“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, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” (Acts 8:9-10)
Who were these men who wielded such power, Simon the sorcerer must’ve wondered in Acts 8 when he first beheld the disciples of Jesus and saw them at work for the Lord. There’s was a power he could not contain or come against, one he could not imitate. He had time and time again manipulated the physical realm through control in the spiritual realm but these peculiar men who said things he didn’t quite get – whose enthusiasm seemed misplaced, in his opinion (which he considered quite ‘humble’) – were doing something he couldn’t do. He had held many captive through his sorcery. But, he couldn’t set one free.
Jesus’ disciples were laying hands on people and people’s lives were being changed. People were being set free.
Simon wanted what they had. He didn’t know how they did what they did. They operated in a completely different realm, if you will. And they weren’t keeping ‘their tricks’ secret.
They were speaking about proclaiming this Good News from the rooftops. Shouting it out, and so forth.
Simon was curious.
His methods were hidden. He had seen his own fame rise through his secret.
But these men worked in the light.
They didn’t exclude anyone.
They didn’t even have a secret club.
“Come, follow Jesus,” they said, quite openly, even to the outcasts of the city. Apparently, everyone was invited to the table of this Jesus.
Scripture records that Simon eventually came closer to the disciples, even conversed with them, and was eventually one of those baptised in acceptance of the Lord Jesus.
Still, something in him still believed there was a catch.
Scripture records this:
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” (Acts 8:18-24)
The gospel is not complicated as some might believe. It is about a God who so loved the world, that He sent His only Son so that whosoever might believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
He came into His own creation and conquered sin on the cross so that you can be in right standing with a holy God and be in relationship with Him – because He created you for this purpose.
Simon the sorcerer, in his understanding, had reduced God to being a force, and couldn’t understand this concept of relationship with Him.
He wanted to use the spiritual for his own gain and to have the gift which the disciples had, not understanding the one behind the gift of the disciples was Jesus Himself, reaching out to a fallen, broken world in love through their hands and prayers and gestures. Jesus was the gift. Jesus’ disciples weren’t doing magic. They were in relationship with the living Spirit of God.They weren’t interested in the things Simon was interested in. They relished the closeness of fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
I don’t know what happened to Simon the sorcerer but his willingness to be baptised and ask questions about the Lord showed his heart was starting to yield to the Holy Spirit. He was starting to understand that a greater spiritual truth than the one he had been taught existed; that this truth wasn’t a concept but a person, Jesus, the Truth; that the Holy Spirit’s concerns aren’t spiritual manipulation and control, but love and relationship and building an Eternal Kingdom which cannot be swayed by the agendas of this world.
So shout if from the rooftops. The power of Jesus and His Majesty cannot be contained or countered because He is God and His glory shines in both the light and the darkness. It cannot be snuffed out. He doesn’t desire it be hidden.
Jesus said to invite everyone to know Him and to hear the Good News.
Is what you believing costing you as it was costing Simon the sorcerer? Are you missing out on knowing the living Jesus Christ because you have exchanged law and cause-effect religious thinking, and self effort for a relationship with Him? Are you getting tired?
Then Jesus says to ‘Come!’ It’s not too late for you today.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor 1:18)
To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/
©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.