9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
I’m going to relate verses 9-10 in a bit of a stretched manner. Allegorical interpretation, what I am about to do, is not the primary solution for Scripture interpretation but can be used as a SUPPLEMENTAL tool for receiving application when correct understanding has already occurred. Since we’ve been working through these chapters I feel comfortable pulling a seemingly disconnected application from this:
Simon had been misleading these people for quite a while with something that looked great! It looked so great on the outside people exclaimed he was doing it from God! How familiar this rings in my ears… Something “godly” presented to the masses which they accept for many years. It’s not until the true “good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” is preached that Simon’s glimmer wears off. In fact, even he flocks away from his false truth to that of Christ. I am struck with familiarity because we see so many churches doing this today. We see churches all over doing “godly” things. They dress nice and attend church, talk nicely, avoid ‘sinful’ things, all this stuff that seems good! We have boards of churches who are more focused on their own preferences and “church order” to see Christ and His mission. Unfortunately this is happening RIGHT NOW in this city. We have tons of people playing church, and pretending to be righteous. Perhaps not because they are trying to mislead, but perhaps because they have been misled. See it isn’t Simon we see in most of these churches, it’s his followers.
For the most part a high percentage of those bad ideas were planted by people in years past. We are simply being surrounded by those who once flocked to our metaphorical Simon and are now just trying to maintain those standards. From the outside everything seems functional, but it only SEEMS Godly. Just like with Simon’s followers we need the church to see the truth and move towards it.
I am praying that the same thing that happened with the apostles will happen in our town. I pray that our congregations begin to see the truth preached and they are converted, leaving behind the world and ‘church’ as we once saw it.
I also wonder though, are we going to be able to accept the false teachers after they’ve changed? This man did a 180 and now follows Jesus everywhere. When God provides this radical change in the hearts around us (the very thing we are praying for) how will we receive these people?! Will we look on the faces of those who were once misled and see them as victims, or criminals?
God help me to not be deceived by the world’s false representation of what a christian life looks like. Help me to find stability in Your Word, direction, Truth! Help me to evaluate all the things I am holding dear to my faith and see if they are Biblical. Amen.
This is a hard one to relate… perhaps just keep an eye out for Simon? Not in others… in you. Keep an eye on your life to assure you aren’t “performing” a fake Christianity for people. Keep an eye out to assure you aren’t preaching a false Gospel!