People love street magic, don’t they? It always amazes people and the person doing the stuff always has such an air of mystery and power about them. It’s intriguing to observe how quickly we assign importance to people who can entertain us, isn’t it?
This Sunday we’ll be reading Acts 8:4-25 and we’ll encounter a magician…more appropriately, a false prophet who held sway over people until the Kingdom of God invaded his space.
As you read through the text, do you see any contrasts between Philip and Simon? What did Philip preach, and what did Simon present? What was the result of Philip’s message and power compared with Simon’s?
Do you read anything in the text that would make you suspicious of Simon’s conversion experience?
Peter is harsh with his response to Simon’s offer – what message do we get from that? Is there anything in our contemporary understanding of church and Christianity that we should examine in light of Peter’s sharp rebuke?
It’s interesting that Simon appears in several other non-Biblical writings. One of the most intriguing to me is Justin Martyr’s mention of him in his second apology. I wrote a paraphrase of that section several years ago – if Justin’s record is correct, it would seem that Simon didn’t follow Peter’s instructions.
Let’s seek better things in our experience of following Jesus – let’s learn our lessons from the story of Simon.
Hope to see you this Sunday!