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. they all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “this man is the power of God that is called great.” and they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. [acts 8:9-11]
when I read about this simon, it is difficult to not think of another simon, the one known as simon peter.
simon peter was a humble fisherman, brought to greatness only through his relationship with Jesus, and continually pointing others to Jesus. apart from Jesus, who would know anything about simon peter? Simon took any greatness attributed to him and pointed it away from himself and to Jesus.
simon the magician is the opposite. this simon is all about his own fortune, glory, and recognition because of who he is and what he can do. He thinks himself to be somebody great, and encourages other people to believe that “he is the power of God”. there is little, if any, humility to be found here.
only one of these simons is truly great.
amazed with his magic
the greek word for magic here is one with which we may be familiar – magi. The best known occurrence of ‘magi’ is when it is used to label the ‘wise men’ who followed a star to worship Jesus [matthew 2:1-2]. Unlike these magi, who recognized that any power or authority they had meant nothing compared to that of the Messiah, this particular magi named simon was content to allow people to believe that his power was equal with that of God.
it is good for us to take two lessons from simon the sorcerer. first, let us not fall into the trap of believing ourselves to be great. any good that we accomplish is through the power of God and the Holy Spirit working within us. apart from him, we can do nothing.
second, let us not grow so amazed with any person anywhere that we equate them with God. any true servant of Christ will quickly and humbly profess that anything amazing comes from God and God alone.
~ jason soroski