They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. (Acts 8:11)
A pastor had the amazing ability to see the comical side of any topic of conversation. This ability followed him into the pulpit with his sermons. The audiences loved his sermons and especially his jokes. He shared that he became convicted about his sermon jokes because he was drawing attention to himself instead of Christ’s saving grace and forgiveness. He changed his sermon style to focus on Scripture with a smattering of humor that decreased his limelight.
Instead of wittiness, Simon used sorcery to amaze his followers. We do not know if he used occult powers, natural illusions, or incantations, but the magic put him in high esteem with all classes of people in Samaria. They thought he was someone great and called him “the Great Power of God.” He was definitely on the level of a god in the people’s eyes. Ancient writers like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus referred to him as Simon Magnus, who was an enemy of the early Christian church and a leader in Gnosticism. Gnostics believed salvation came by an extraordinary knowledge of God, rather than through Christ.
The pastor’s and Simon’s personae drew people to them. After people leave our presence, what do they recall about us—our humor, kindness, boasting, sarcasm, empathy, love? Or have our actions or speech led them to think about God?
Choose to reflect Christ in your speech and actions.
Gena Duncan is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and active in her local church. She enjoys bicycling and gardening.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.