“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. But there was a man named Simon…” Acts 8:5-9a
The Holy Spirit sends Phillip to Samaria to proclaim the Gospel. Healings happen in concert: Unclean Spirits—OUT!! Lame—Walk!! Sick—HEALED!! Crowds in one accord paid attention. Many believed; much joy!!………And then there is a “but”…
Ever wonder why God puts a “but” in the Scriptures? It is like the word “therefore”—wherever you see the word “therefore” we have to see what it is “there for?” In this case Phillip is having a rock and rolling ministry success in Samaria. There are lots of good things happening. When Phil gets home, man is he going to have bunches of stories to tell. Then the scripture record starts to talk about Simon. Simon has some history in Samaria. He is called a “magician” but the real description I think comes from what Simon says about himself: “…saying that he himself was somebody great.” (v9b). Now, Simon heard the Gospel and believed but I guess he couldn’t shake that desire to be great. Verse 18: “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostle’s hands (Peter and John), he offered them money saying: “give me this power also…” so I can do ministry like you guys…”(paraphrased). The desire was commendable; the execution to get there not so much. And then, after Peter said to Simon “I see your heart—not so good there, Simon: Repent!!…” “Simon replies: “Pray for me…” 4 things to take away from this: 1. It is good to have a holy ambition; to want to imitate Godly men. 2. It is good to have much joy and gladness in the Move of God. 3. It is proper to have a sobering discussion with the Holy Spirit and with others about the condition of our heart. 4. It is proper to take responsibility for our own prayers to God and not lay off that responsibility on someone else.
Lord God: Please help me to be aware of the “buts” and the “therefores” in the Scriptures. You use those to get attention placed on what either came before or what is coming next—and there are riches to be dug out where those adverbs are. I read about Simon and I can see my name there instead of his. Father I don’t want to shrink back from what you send me to do but I also don’t want to go ahead of your Hand either. Lord I confess my sin of prideful forwardness and repent of that sin. Help me to serve you all my days. AMEN.