9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.
Acts 8:9-13 presents the conversion of Simon, the sorcerer. He was an admired magician in the region of Samaria. After hearing Philip’s message, he was converted and baptized.
But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city
Simon practiced “sorcery” or magic. It is essential to distinguish between modern and biblical-era magic. Biblical-period magic was the ritual manipulation of objects by verbal formulas. It was not like the magic of today, which builds itself around illusions. Magic of the New Testament was demonic, involving Satanic delusion.
and astonished the people of Samaria,
Simon impressed the people of Samaria with both his magic and excessive claims about himself.
claiming that he was someone great,
Simon had a high view of himself; his pride was astounding.
to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying,
The Samaritans of all ages concentrated on what Simon said.
“This man is the great power of God.”
These people believed that Simon’s sorcery was associated with God and that God gave him great, special powers.
And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.
The people of Samaria bought into Simon’s magic because of its unique effect on their experience. His following was immense.
There is great danger in the unqualified following of men.
People today follow what they deem “great” human leaders. Some now claim to have great powers of healing and prophecy. There are many religious rackets in the church, where they delude the saints. There is a danger in following men rather than what God says in His Word. We can only discern the true from the false leader through knowledge of God’s Word.
Magic is a threat to the faith of Christ because it represents witchcraft (Ga 5:20). Magic originates with Satan’s system (Deut 18:10-14).