The Great One
Call yourself “Great!” Demonstrate to a crowd that you have an inside track with transcendental, supernatural power and people will be amazed. They’ll follow. The trick is to create the illusion that your words, your hocus pocus chants, create and alter reality. Then all you need is a good promotion guru, do a few tricks, and they’ll shout, “You’re the greatest!” This is true today, and it was true in the first century when Philip, the Evangelist, arrived in Samaria, the region north of Jerusalem.
Before he arrived, a sorcerer named Simon was the illusionist the crowds flocked to see and hear. He had the power, but then the representative of real power showed up.
“Now there was a man named Simon. Before Philip arrived in the city, he practiced sorcery and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming for himself the title ‘Great.’ All the people, both small and great, followed him saying, ‘He is the power of God, the one called Great.’ They had followed him for a long time astounded by his sorcery. But when they believed Philip—his proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ—both men and women were baptized. And Simon himself also believed and was baptized. He attached himself to Philip, following him everywhere he went, observing the signs and great miracles. And he was amazed.” Acts 8:9-13
Philip, like the Apostles, did powerful signs and wonders in the Name of Jesus, and this was no illusion. Crowds gathered from all over the region, and instead of resisting the new phenomenon, Simon, believes and joins the movement. So far this conversion of the former sorcerer looks fantastic but note where Luke says his eyes are focused.
LORD, help me realize that what I hear with my ears about the power of your death to forgive and your resurrection to give life is far more important than any healing or exorcism I might see with my eyes. Help me remember that it’s in genuine connection with you, never using your Name as a magical formula, that gives me true influence and the ability to strengthen your people both physically and spiritually. Protect us from the present day “Simons” who are still more enamored with signs and wonders than in humble obedience to your Word
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