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.
~ Acts 8:12-13
There is a well-known game played by children called, “Simon Says.” The object of the game is to have a command given and the receiver of the command cannot perform it unless he/she hears the words first, “Simon says.” If the receiver does not hear that first, and makes a move, they are eliminated from the game. They lose. The last one standing wins the game.
There is a man in the Bible whose name was Simon. He was a sorcerer. He probably made a living astounding people with his magic tricks. He did this for a long time, until he convinced many that he was an anointed one from God. Simon was not.
He heard the message of Jesus by Philip and the Bible says he believed, and was baptized. When I think of Simon, I am reminded of Jesus and His parable of the seed and the sower. In Matthew 13:22 He explained, “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
In Acts 8:18 it says, “Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people when the apostles laid their hands on them. So he offered the apostles money.” Simon, thought He could buy the Holy Spirit. If he could receive what he perceived as the best, “magic trick” ever, Simon’s bag would be full. He had the deceitfulness of his heart, choking out the seed that had been planted. Salvation, though Jesus Christ is given in grace. The receiving of the Holy Spirit is the result of salvation. It’s a gift. It’s not something to be bought.
In Acts 8: 20-23, Peter’s harsh response to Simon was, “You and your money should both be destroyed because you thought you could buy God’s gift with money. You cannot share with us in this work. Your heart is not right before God. Change your heart! Turn away from these evil thoughts and pray to the Lord. Maybe He will forgive you. I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and cannot stop yourself from doing wrong.”
Simon could not even do that. He asked Peter to pray for him. Simon did it all wrong. He gave the command himself. Simon said, “Give me!” In humbleness, He should have made a request to Christ for forgiveness, then he would have heard the Holy Spirit give the command to go and tell the world.
We don’t know much more about Simon, whether He finished his life in victory though Jesus, or if He was eliminated. We all have a part in this game of life. We cannot buy our way to win the trophy. We can triumphantly win if we start with this question first: “God, will you forgive me of my sins through Jesus Christ your son?” Then, as we move through this life, we will hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, guiding us to victory.
Dear Lord, Will you forgive me of my sin, by the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ? I ask for the filling of your Holy Spirit to guide me across that victory line. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert