Acts 8:4-25 Jesus Changes the Attitude of Our Heart
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
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. 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.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
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.”
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.”
25 After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
Living God’s Word: Look at the growth John had demonstrated in just a few years. As Christ’s disciple, John had asked Jesus if the disciples could call down fire from heaven to burn up an unwelcoming Samaritan village (Luke 9:51–55). Here (Acts 8:14–16), after the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that transformed disciple was in Samaria laying hands on the believers there for them to receive the Holy Spirit, a “fire” of a different sort. This is a beautiful example of what changes Jesus can make in a life. Don’t discount how Christ can change your attitudes about people. Let his love transform your mind.
Words to Live By: The power of the Gospel, which reaches even the most unlikely people, is illustrated in the lives of the Samaritans. God and His grace cannot be bought. A person’s life is transformed only by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word. Today, ask the Lord to bless your study of His Word. He will transform you and bless your service according to His gifts and good pleasure.
Prayer: Father, all too often I have treated Your grace as something I could purchase or earn. Forgive me, for Jesus’ sake, and let Your Holy Spirit work mightily in my life, that I might imitate Philip and proclaim Your Word of life. Amen.