Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Acts 8:12-13

Summary retelling of Acts 8: 12-13:

Yesterday we heard about how much sway Simon had over the crowds in Samaria.  Today we hear that Philip had enough sway over the people that they believed his power over that of Simon.  {Of course, by “his power” I mean the power of God working through him … but that’s not how Simon and the crowds would have seen it yet.}  The people are baptized into Jesus Christ and they begin to become regular pupils of Philip.  Even Simon comes to Philip and places himself under Philip’s teaching.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
The crowds heard Philip’s teaching on the kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus Christ and they believed him.  Perhaps more importantly, they continued to come back and listen.  This is always the first step to genuine discipleship.  We must hear, internalize, and decide to come back.

Do you “come back?”  What keeps bringing you back time and time again?  Are there good reasons to come back as well as bad reasons?

Second Thought:
From the eyes of Simon the sorcerer, Philip must have some pretty powerful “magic.”  If Philip has the ability to take the attention of the crowd away from him, then clearly Philip is more powerful – or as we might say today, more charismatic.  Because of this, Simon does the wise thing.  When someone better than you comes along, partner up with them and learn what you can.  There is no need to start a rivalry when there is also an opportunity to learn.

How do you react when someone better than you at a certain task comes along?

Third Thought:
Of course, in speaking about all of this we should really remember the fickle nature of crowds.  How many times did Jesus feed thousands of people miraculously?  How many times did Jesus preach to hosts of people?  Yet how many followers did Jesus have when He died?  People are fickle.  People often pursue the newest “neat thing” only to let it run its course and find some other “new thing.”

Do you think churches are immune to this fickleness?  In what ways have you seen fickle behavior in church – or even in your own spiritual life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 8:14-17
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