“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 the divine power known as the Great Power.'”
Most of us should be quite familiar with the story of Simon the sorcerer, the guy that tried to buy the ability to lay on hands and “give” people the Holy Spirit, and there is so much to learn from this account. For one thing, Simon became a believer and was baptized, yet hadn’t yet come into a full understanding of how things now were (verse 13); he was enthralled by the miracles worked by Philip and focused on them rather than the Lord that makes them possible. But what I want to look at today is the reaction of the people of Samaria to Simon’s sorcery and the grave mistake that they made, and that people still make today. The people saw the supernatural works of Simon and decided that he was the “divine power known as the Great Power”, which revealed their profound ignorance of the Scriptures and the belief in false powers that followed in the wake of such ignorance. They didn’t even attribute the power that Simon apparently wielded to God, but rather to some vague, ill-defined “Great Power”; either they assumed it came from within himself or was something very generally defined. This mistake is still made by millions in our own age when people attribute supernatural power either to some inherent quality of the person, or to some sort of generic power, like the Mother Earth power or even the fictional power from Star Wars called the Force. Some groups prefer to just suggest their members believe in some sort of “Higher Power” and say that it is whatever you consider a higher power. But we must be clear about this: any power that does not come from God comes from the enemy, Satan, and his legions of fallen angels…period. And the only way to get access to the power of God is through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only way to the Father and therefore His power; Jesus is the only valid doorway or gate to the divine. Anything that does not come through Him is not of God. No amount of belief in other paths to eternal life will work. No belief in a vague “higher power” or a God without Christ or some innate quality of the human species or even the Force will get you an eternal life of great joy and bliss. (Think I’m joking about a belief in “the Force”? Go to a Star Wars convention or talk to a devoted fan of those films and you’ll see plenty of people who take the Force very seriously!) If our faith is in Jesus Christ, our divine Savior, then we will receive that eternity; without Jesus, we have nothing and remain doomed. How did things turn out for Simon? It doesn’t say specifically, but I think it probably turned out ok for him. We know he became a believer in the Lord, and when Peter rebuked him Simon did not get all huffy and storm off, but rather showed a sincere desire for forgiveness and remorse for his own errors. So we can hope to meet Simon in the Kingdom, only God knows, but I do know this: if we see Simon there it will be because he believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and won’t be because he believed in a “Great Power”. Or even the Force…
Grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.