Almighty God, I praise You that You are so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that You cannot do.
Read Acts 8:4-25
 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.  When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.  For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.  So there was great joy in that city.  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.  When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money  and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.  For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”  Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”  After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat great mistake did Simon make?
Until now, Simon has been top dog in Samaria. The people there are so amazed by his power that everyone is under his spell. In fact his power seems so great they assume it could only come from God (10). Then one day along comes Philip. Suddenly, the crowds see what real power is, as the sick are dramatically healed and those oppressed by evil spirits are set free. Philip explains to them that this is the power of Jesus Christ, the only true God, and it seems as if the whole city turns to Christ. Next, Peter and John come down from the apostles’ headquarters in Jerusalem (14). They show the new believers that this power isn’t just for certain special people, but that everyone can receive the Holy Spirit. Clearly many people have powerful encounters with God as the apostles pray for them, so much so that Simon is in no doubt that this is a power far greater than his. Like the people of Samaria, we can be enthralled by the seeming “power” of other people, systems or philosophies to do something amazing. But real power belongs to God and it’s available to us!
Have you experienced God’s power acting through you? Ask God for more of the Holy Spirit’s power in your life.
Lord, I don’t want any power except that of Your Holy Spirit working in and through my life. May it be so.