Philip in Samaria, Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) Commentary


Stephen’s death was seen as a victory by Saul, and by the Jewish council, whose use of violence scatters many of the believers. Yet, God uses this to farther distribute the gospel. Philip is driven to Samaria to do the God’s work. Simon was a sorcerer, but the people thought he had the power of God! How easily we are deceived by tricks. The Gospel turns us to the truth, as Philip demonstrated with his teaching. Simon even believed.
Peter and John had stayed in Jerusalem, despite the threat on their lives, but now joined Philip, that they may share the Holy Spirit with people. Simon witnessed this, but foolishly thought he could purchase it. While Simon had admitted Jesus was greater than he was, his heart was not pure. He desired the use the Holy Spirit as another one of his tricks. For this Peter rebukes him, harshly and uncompromisingly. The Holy Spirit was a gift from God, accessible by the acceptance of his Son Jesus as savior. Salvation cannot be purchased, through money or works. It is only through faith we are saved. Simon was scared, and asked the apostles pray for him and intercede on his behalf, yet he does not turn to Jesus himself. We hear nothing else of him. Peter and John return to Jerusalem.
Philip was obedient to the Lord, and traveled the road to Gaza. He came across an Ethiopian eunuch, who he witnessed to, and at the request of the eunuch, baptized him. This eunuch, now empowered with the Holy Spirit, could witness to his countrymen when he returned home. As the Jewish leaders pushed the gospel out of their own grasp, in into the other nations, fulfilling the word of the prophets! The power of the Spirit carried Philip, as it carries all believers. Let the Spirit carry you to your next destination for Christ.

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