Monday, March 5, 2012

Acts 8:9-11

Summary retelling of Acts 8: 9-11:

Today we get to meet an infamous Bible character named Simon Magus (otherwise known as Simon the Sorcerer – and it is interesting to note that Simon the Sorcerer and Peter have a number of confrontations recorded elsewhere in historical documents besides the Bible).  Because Simon has the ability to seemingly do some pretty amazing stuff, people think that he is from God and that his power is derived from God.  He had the eye of the people, that’s for sure.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
When we typically think of magic, we often think of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or even Chronicles of Narnia.  However, traditionally magic was different from being able to blast people with elemental energy.  Magic was thought of as being able to hold sway over people.  Magic was thought of as being able to do things typically outside of the scope of humanity.  Elemental magic comes from the history of the British Isles and the Orient.  Personal magic – charming people, talking to dead spirits, and convincing people to do things that wouldn’t normally do – comes from the Middle East.

How does this alter your understanding of what is meant by Simon’s title of “sorcerer” or “magician?”

Second Thought:
Given this understanding, we can see what Simon was most likely able to do.  Simon was likely able to captivate the crowd fairly well.  Simon was probably a good storyteller with some con-artist type of maneuvers.  Simon was probably also able to talk people into believing things about himself that they might not have otherwise believed about a human being.

Assuming that this is true, what does this tell us about con-artists and people in general with high personal charisma?  What can we learn about crowds and a charismatic person’s ability to manipulate a crowd?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 8:12-13
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