Today, after being gone for what seems an era, I would like to bring your attention to possibly the most misunderstood character in the Bible.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. 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. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Simon the Sorcerer at one time did great and mighty works in this city, in fact, according to the scriptures, he held the city in thrall to himself. Then along came the followers of Christ, preaching the gospel of Jesus, filled with power and doing many great and mighty works in the name of Jesus. Simon was also persuaded and believed, alongside the multitudes of this city. He went along with them, preaching and proclaiming the name of Jesus. Then he saw something he wanted. He saw that the gift of power, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, could be given. He desired this gift, as is well and proper for any follower of Christ. What’s more? He didn’t ask it just to keep it for himself. He wanted to be able to give this gift like they did. Also well and proper for any follower of Christ. But he was still new to his faith, and didn’t understand some things.
In Christianity, this gift is freely given to those who choose to follow Christ. The signs and wonders done, you don’t offer money for, and thus you can’t buy the gifts.
So why did Simon try to buy this gift?
A simple question with a simple answer, that still rings true throughout the ages to this very day.
In the world of magic and witchcraft, all that information on how things work in the spiritual world is highly coveted information. Occasionally a sorcerer or a witch would take on an apprentice to carry on the knowledge that they have, that way it would not be lost. Witches and occultists to this day keep alot of this information to themselves, except for bartering, and selling it. It has always been this way.
Simon likely had often had to buy the information and books of power. So he did what he could with the knowledge he had. He offered them money to bestow upon him the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Here is where a follower of Christ got the situation incorrect, and handled it badly.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Telling a new believer this kind of stuff, when he had no way of knowing what was going on for sure? For shame. But it happens to this day, for we are all merely humans, and trying to move forward in life. Peter didn’t know any better. Simon was just trying to seek after God, in a way that made sense to him. Maybe the sermons had never covered how to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Simon should have done as Peter said though, and prayed himself, instead of telling Peter to do it for him, but again, a new believer with a new faith will seldom know how to conduct himself in matters such as these.
The moral of the story is: Don’t judge another for wanting something of God, but not knowing how to get it. You never know how many occultists could have come to God, and done mighty things for Him, but were turned off to Christianity by the followers of Christ.