But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.(Acts 8:9-11)
Phillip the deacon, had been driven out of Jerusalem along with many other of his fellow believers, in the persecution instigated by Saul. But they preached the Word wherever they went for refuge.
Phillip ended up in Samaria, preaching Christ, the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus, with great power. God confirmed the word through signs and wonders, healings, demon deliverances, and mass conversion to Christ, as the people “gave heed to Phillip”.
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (Acts 8:7)
But there was a rival ‘Word’ in Samaria that the people also “gave heed to”, a renown sorcerer named Simon, who bewitched the people through signs and wonders of his own.He enthralled the Samaritans for a long time through his mastery of the black arts.
To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Notice that Simon’s signs and wonders caused people to think of him as some great one, blasphemously calling him, “the great power of God”. The Sorceries caused them to esteem him, and to exalt him, in their superstition they magnified him.
The Occult is all about the glorification of man, and part of the appeal of the occult is the demonically inspired belief that all men are god-like, they just haven’t realized it. The secret teachings usually involve learning how to tap the latent power within.
Those few who learn the dark secrets that unlock the godlike powers in themselves are regarded highly as proof that any of us can be “as gods”, the serpent’s lie. Thus we have the appeal of “Simon Magnus”, The great power of God.
The Samaritans had to choose between the two ‘Words”, the Word of Jesus, proclaimed by Phillip, (a nobody), exalting Jesus the Christ of God, or that of “Simon the Great”, proof that all of us deep inside have latent godlike powers, that we can all be “as gods”as the Serpent in the garden once suggested.
In the Word of Jesus is the teaching that we are all sinners, bankrupt and unable to save ourselves, but that in mercy the Holy God descended to our lowly level, and became a man. This man died on a tree, as a sacrifice for our sins, but God the Father raised him from the dead.
The Word of Simon is the exact opposite, for Simon is proof that man himself can be as gods, knowing and determining for himself good and evil. This great man has tapped into the power within to reveal the true greatness of all men!
By the grace of God the Samaritans received the Word of God, not the Word of Simon, and were saved. There was great Joy in the city, because so many had been saved from their sins and brought out of superstitious bondage, the emptiness of man centered spirituality, into a living relationship with God!
In fact , even Simon the great became a christian and was baptized… or did he really?