“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.” Acts 8:9
A man named Simon practiced magic in the city of Samaria and was known as the “Great Wizard.” He was like a modern-day magician, except someone as great as David Copperfield admits his work is an art of illusion. When Philip came along preaching in the name of Jesus, the people began to ignore Simon. When Simon saw that the apostles could heal by merely laying on hands, “Simon pulled out his money, excited, and said, “Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that!” (vs. 18) hoping to regain his title as the “Great Wizard.” Peter told him bribes and offerings won’t buy God’s magic.
Years ago, I had a pastor who preached a spirit-filled sermon, and for those who knew him as “the preacher,” had no idea that from Monday through Saturday, he didn’t practice what he preached. He randomly showed up at the office, used church funds to buy items, such as a large snow blower “for the church” and had it delivered to his home where it remained all winter, because it was too heavy to transport back and forth. The church council eventually sent him packing, just like Peter sent Simon packing.
Lord, thank you for seeing the true character of people. Amen.