In today’s reading from the Bible, we find the Christian message continuing to change lives in every city it touches.  Philip, one of the new leaders appointed to help share the apostles’ workload, has been preaching, healing people and there is great joy in the city.  But there’s also one shady character:

[9] 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. [10] They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” [11] And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. [12] But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. [13] Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

It all sounds pretty good, right?

Philip meets an egomaniac named Simon, who goes around cultivating a reputation as “the Great one” through illusions and trickery.  He’s known as a magician, and is used to being the center of attention.

He’s amazed by Philip.  Usually Simon amazes everyone else, the least to the greatest, but today no one is paying him any attention, they’re watching Phillip, and even Simon thinks Phillip is amazing.

Phillip is preaching about the good news of the kingdom of God.  Jesus’ message when he was on earth, and it’s still going.  People were being baptized, making public declarations that they believed in Jesus and committed their life to him.

Then there were signs and great miracles.

Simon must have wondered.  Is he hypnotizing them?  Were they planted in the audience?  Is he paying them?

Apparently none of those answers satisfied him, because in the end, Simon believes.  He’s not faking it, the Bible clearly says he believed, and was baptized.

And, he continued travelling with Philip.

As we’ll see, he had some ulterior motives.

Question: Why might someone gain by converting and travelling with the Christian movement?

Meeting with a Group?  Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide

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