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Acts 8:9-25 – Simon the magician

Amongst the Samaritans is Simon. Simon formerly had practiced magic/sorcery and astounded the people with his great ability to utilize the power of God. This kind of magic/sorcery involved the manipulation of divine power using names (spiritual insight) or rituals (power-acts) to control people or circumstances normally beyond one’s control.

Simon believes and is baptized in water and follows Philip observing the signs and great acts of power performed by him. Whereas previously the Samaritans had paid attention to Simon, they now paid attention to Philip. Whereas previously Simon had amazed the people with his acts of power, Simon is now amazed at Philip’s acts of power.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered money to be given this power by the apostles – like Judas and Ananias Simon is an unregenerate believer who is full of covertness. Notice Peter’s strong words:

  • May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
  • You have neither part nor lot in this matter i.e. no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
  • Your heart is not right before God – wicked intents in your heart.
  • You are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.

Luke’s telling the stories of Judas, Ananias and Simon are to serve as warning – believing is not enough, a person must be regenerated in heart by the Spirit.

The passage concludes with Peter and John further testifying and speaking the word of the Lord before returning to Jerusalem preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans – again a contrast with what had occurred in Luke 9:51-56.

A story told in the early church period: Years later Simon in Rome contending with Peter said that if he were buried alive, he would rise again on the third day. Commanding a grave to be dug, he ordered his disciples to heap earth upon him. They did as he commanded, but he remained in it to this day.