1 Kings 9:1-10:29; Acts 8:14-40; Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 17:2-3
God’s Gift Cannot Be Bought
Simon the magician has two problems. The first is that he thinks that he has something of equal value to the power of the Holy Spirit with which to buy that power. The second is that he is seeking the power for all the wrong reasons. According to Peter he is in “the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
Simon Magus was used to the spotlight, used to amazing the people with his magic manipulations, used to the adulation of the crowds. When Philip came along and those same crowds believed Philip’s message, Simon recognized a greater power than his, was baptized, and followed Philip everywhere! When Peter and John arrived and started to lay hands on people, he was even more amazed. Evidently there had been some external signs of the power of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit fell on those on whom hands had been laid, and Simon wanted to be able to call down this power. Simon had been too long center-stage to give up the limelight; he wanted all the external show and had completely missed the point of the message. His name entered our dictionary to mean the act of trying to purchase spiritual things with money – simony.
The gift was free – no charge – but at great cost. The one who paid the cost was the humble, suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the passage the Ethiopian eunuch was reading on his way home from Jerusalem, and which Philip revealed was about Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian eunuch understands immediately the gift and the sacrifice and asks to be baptized on the spot – and goes on his way rejoicing.
The gift is still free – it cannot be bought. Who will you share the gift with today?
The Rev. Sarah Bronos
Church of the Good Shepherd