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Daily Devotional: Sunday 15th March

by William Moody

Acts 8:9–17

Simon the Magician Believes

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles1 performed, he was amazed.

14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Footnotes

[1] 8:13 Greek works of power

(ESV)

Simon was a man with power and someone who enjoyed the limelight (v9-11). Philip’s ministry took the focus away from Simon, as many in response to Philip’s teaching and miracles came to trust in Christ (v12). Simon himself came to profess faith (v13) and he was amazed at the miracles Philip did.

It is interesting here that these people who came to faith, did not receive the Holy Spirit immediately, but only when Peter and John came and laid hands on them (v14-17). This was something exceptional, as in the New Testament after Pentecost, receiving salvation normally mean receiving the Spirit (see Acts 10 v44; Romans 8 v9).

There was an important reason why this happened differently here. These new believers were Samaritans and it appears that it was God’s will for them only to receive the Spirit with the coming of the apostles from Jerusalem, so that there would be unity among believers and not separated Jewish and Samaritan churches.

Here we see once more the great passion of God that His people would be united (see John 17 v20-21). We need to be careful not to distance ourselves from true believers just because they come from a different background to us (see James 2 v1-5). Have you prejudice against some believers?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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