20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
The above verses are Peter’s reply to the sorcerer Simon who we meet earlier in this chapter.
9 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, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.
Then something happened to change how the people related to Simon and how he initially believed when Phillip arrived in Samaria
12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
So initially he appears to be a changed man, no longer a sorcerer (maybe), after all he believed the good news Phillip had proclaimed and was baptized. Somehow he had the resources to follow Phillip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. But what kind of a believer was he?
Well, before we get to our verses of the day, we find Peter and John went to Samaria to lay hands on the believers so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized, but had not yet had the Holy Spirit come on any of them. However, when
Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
What happened next reveals the heart of Simon, for
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Notice, he did not ask them to lay hands on him so he might receive the Holy Spirit. No, instead he wanted to purchase the ability to lay hands on others so they might receive the Holy Spirit from his laying on of hands.
This is a good point to pause and consider if we have ever tried to purchase anything from God. After all maybe we have donated enormous amounts of time to the church (to God) or given a great deal of money to the church (to God) or memorized hundreds of verse or only behaved in such a way as to please the church (or God) or attended every possible service and bible study to earn a good opinion from those in church (and God) or any number of other possibilities. And then we believed God owed us something we wanted, we believed we had earned something from God, that God owes us for our good deeds whatever form they may have taken.
If we have done so or are doing so, we were or are in great error. We have forgotten what God has done for us, the enormity of what He has done. His only begotten Son died for our sins, your sins. We can never repay how Jesus purchased our freedom by His death on the cross. We are the ones forever in debt to God for
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So Simon, full of arrogance thought he could purchase the ability to lay hands others so they may receive the Holy Spirit. His heart was revealed and was when Simon received the answer he did not expect
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” 24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Simon feared the judgment he had brought on himself as he had revealed so called belief in Jesus was simply self-serving, his heart was not right before God and Peter also saw he was full of bitterness and captive to sin. God knows our hearts plainly and simply and we cannot hide the truth of our hearts from Him. Here we see Peter was given the ability to also see the truth of Simon’s heart.
would does my heart reveal about my faith? What would does your heart reveal about your faith. Something to consider each and every day.