046 – Baptism of Simon the Sorcerer
Peter's Conflict with Simon MagusAvanzino Nucci 1620 In our last seven lessons, we studied a variety of scriptures speaking specifically about baptism; scriptures which present an accurate doctrinal picture of the purpose, practice and execution of this Biblical command. These scriptures are rich in information and fairly direct in their presentation and claims. Now, let’s begin looking at a number of scriptures which again, directly mention and use the word baptism, but this time, our revelations unfold in narratives. These are Biblical stories where baptisms occur. We begin with the baptism of Simon the Sorcerer. Acts 8:9-25 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, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.” This is quite a story! When we first meet Simon, he is in Samaria and in business for himself… literally. He is an arrogant, blustering carnival barker, charlatan; amazing people with what many people suspect was sleight of hand magic and grand illusions. Simon is the David Copperfield of his time… albeit sans the Copperfield class! Some people speculate that since Simon was doing such great and amazing things, he may have had some kind of demonic power. All this is to say… “Simon ain’t a great guy.” At the top of his sin list are greed and self promotion. One day, Philip, one of the first church deacons, shows up in Samaria and preaches the good news about Jesus. How do we know this is Philip the Deacon and not Philip the Apostle and why is that even important? We know this is Philip the Deacon because of what we learn in Acts 8:1-5. A great persecution had broken out against the church after the stoning of Stephen. It was a tumultuous time and caused the church to scatter far and wide. Acts 8:1-5 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed ...