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After Stephen was killed, Saul started chasing down the Christians to put them in prison. The thousands and thousands of Christians in Jerusalem spread out all over the region.
Remember that many of them had come to Jerusalem from all over the world. So many probably went back to those places, taking new Family and friends and the Good News of the King and His Kingdom with them.
Philip traveled to the main city of Samaria and began telling the people there about Jesus. Crowds of people in Samaria were listening to all Philip said, and they saw the miracles he was doing. Many people were healed and were being made whole. It was one happy city!
At that time, there was a man named Simon who did bad magic and amazed all the people of Samaria. He would boast, “I’m great. I’m big stuff. Look at me. Look what I can do.” And the people said, “Oh oh, yes, he is big stuff. Look at him.” The people paid close attention to Simon because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.
But many men and women believed what Philip was declaring about Jesus and the Kingdom of God, and they were baptized. Even Simon believed and was baptized. After that, Simon stuck close to Philip listening to and seeing all the miracles he was doing in the name of Jesus. He was amazed.
Now when the 12 apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted God’s Word, they sent Peter and John to them.
Peter and John arrived in Samaria and laid their hands on the new believers because although they had been baptized, they had not yet received the holy spirit. After Peter and John prayed for them, each person received the Holy Spirit.
Now Simon was watching all this. When he saw that people were given the Holy Spirit when Peter and John put their hands on them, he said to Peter and John, “Hey, here is some money I have! Can I buy this gift that you have? I want to have this power to give people the Holy Spirit too.”
Peter was not happy! He looked at Simon and said, “May your money be sent into deepest darkness with you because you thought you could buy God’s Gift. You have no part or share in this because your heart is not right before God. Repent, turn away from this wickedness and pray to God. Maybe He’ll forgive you for having such a terrible thought in your heart! I see that you are full of bitterness and a slave to sin.”
Woah… Simon just lost the Miracle of being part of their Together-Life. Ouch. Once again, you can see that Holiness in God’s House, His Family, Matters to God. Simon can’t be part of the Family at all unless he repents of this sin of wanting to be someone important.
But, what was so wrong about Simon wanting to buy the ability to help people have God’s Spirit? Well, for one thing, it says Peter could see that Simon had ugly bitterness in his heart about it. So Simon wasn’t really wanting to just help people. He was wanting to be important and for people to look at him again and think he was big stuff.
But you can’t use money to buy respect or attention in God’s eyes or His Family’s eyes. We don’t choose what our part is in God’s Family. God decides that. And just like when we talked about how “work skills” and “restaurant skills” were worthless when choosing men to serve God… Simon’s money and personality and ability to attract a crowd were all worthless.
Secondly, can you kind of feel on your insides that some things should just never be “bought”? What about… a hug? What if a hug was something you bought from your family or friends? Can you feel on your insides that that’s just… wrong? Hugs aren’t meant to be bought. They’re given and received out of love.
Well, don’t you think Gifts from God are even more special than a hug. They’re God’s undeserved kindness, given to people, as He chooses.
Money doesn’t mean anything to God. Money is just man’s little printed papers or cut rocks. To say that God’s Gifts could be bought with man’s paper money and round stones is probably very hurtful to Him.
Like if you said, “The way to get a hug from my dad is to pay him.” Ouch. That would be really hurtful to a loving and kind father.
Then Simon answered Peter, “Please pray for me so that nothing you’ve said happens to me.”
After that Peter and John went on declaring God’s word and telling all about what they had seen Jesus do and say. Eventually they went back to Jerusalem, spreading the Good News all along the way.