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.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.
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. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
There are a lot smarter people than me that have written volumes, even doctoral dissertations, on what the deal is with baptism in this passage. There is a lot left out that we don’t know and plenty of mentions of baptism, the Holy Spirit, and the power of the apostles in other verses of the Bible.
What we do know is that Philip was baptizing people in the name of the Lord Jesus, and that didn’t cause them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This would be a good thing to ask Philip about when you see him. C’mon dude! I know they are Samaritans but what’s up?
Then Peter and John came and prayed for them, placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. What is great about this, just like Jesus’ miracles, is that it shows us again that there isn’t a formula. The Holy Spirit comes in different ways throughout the book of Acts. Sometimes people speak in tongues, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they prophesy, sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes they throw the apostles out of the city and kill them with stones, and sometimes they don’t.
But I don’t want to dwell on that.
I want to dwell on Simon.
The dude let people call him “the Great Power of God.”
Do you think Tony Stark or your old boss is vain? Were they known around the Tri-State as “The Great Power of God?”
But God reached out to him and he was saved. “The Great Power of God” submitted and believed in Jesus.
If there is someone you think is a hard nut to crack and you’ve been talking to them for a while, take some time to pray for them today. Whatever (or whoever) thinks they are more powerful than God will lose. It doesn’t have to mean that God will destroy them — Sometimes He’ll save them!
He loves more powerfully than any other thing in the Universe. When He shows it, nothing can stop it.
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