The Governor’s desk. Texas Capitol.
Wednesday, 15 June 2022
to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” Acts 8:10
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
The previous verse introduced Simon who practiced sorcery in the city and who astonished the people of Samaria. Along with that, he claimed that he was someone great. This verse shows us that he was believed, saying, “to whom they all gave heed.”
It is referring to him, and it shows that because of what he was doing, the people paid attention to him, probably hanging on his every word. This is not unusual. The false prophets during the time of the kings held their courts captive, such as in 1 Kings –
“The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, having put on their robes, sat each on his throne, at a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 11 Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: “With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.”’ 12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, ‘Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the king’s hand.’” 1 Kings 22:10-12
These, and many such instances, show that people are easily swayed by false messages and false displays of miracles, signs, and wonders. Jesus warned about this as well –
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.” Matthew 23:23-25
As for Simon, regardless as to whether he was in touch with demonic influences or whether he was simply good at tricks of magic, all of the people were swayed by him “from the least to the greatest.”
Young people love to look at what is curious and ponder how such things are done, but so do older people as well. People who aren’t so smart will marvel at things they don’t understand, but so will the intelligent. When we cannot grasp how something is done, we will naturally look to alternative explanations for what we see.
Seemingly highly intellectual people will believe in secret powers in certain people just because of the thing they see that they cannot explain. And such people will gladly claim that what they are doing (and this is certainly true in Christian circles as well) is by the power of God. This is the case with Simon. The people were “saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’”
Because of the things he did, and because of the way he presented himself, the people were completely fooled as to the source of his supposed magic. He may have used smoke and mirrors, but he did so in an effective manner so that everyone was bamboozled by him.
Life application: How many countless Christians have been duped by false teachers over the years! This is both in doctrine and in simply being conned by sleight of hand “healers” and “miracle workers.” History is replete with such charlatans.
As for doctrine, Paul and the other writers of the epistles constantly warn about the importance of heeding the word, knowing it, and holding fast to it. For example, Paul says –
“But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
Without knowing the word, people are at the whims of those who know how to twist it. Likewise, there are false presentations of power constantly performed in churches around the world. Today, Charismatics and Pentecostals (and others) have a constant stream of false healings, false receptions of “divine instruction,” and so on. People see these things, and because the person conducting them says he is doing them in the name of Jesus, it is blindly accepted as true.
Peter Popov is a classic example of this. Read up on what he did, and then realize that even AFTER he was exposed, people still follow him. The stupidity of man to give credit to people who make false claims is limitless. Unless we know the word, and unless we know what is true, we cannot identify what is false. As such, you are once again implored to think reasonably and rationally, and to know and study the Bible. Be cautious and be circumspect in what you are willing to accept.
Lord God, You have given us Your word to guide us and direct us. And, You have given it to us to warn us and keep us from being led astray by false teachers and false miracle workers. Well, we sure can’t do that without picking the Bible up and reading it. So, Lord, give us wisdom to put Your word first in our list of daily activities. Help us to not be swayed by what is false. Instead, give us the ability to discern what is good and proper. Amen.