GodSpeak for the Week of June 23
With the major holidays on our church calendar behind us (e.g., Easter, Pentecost, Holy Trinity), we now settle into the long summer season after Pentecost. To get the season underway, we return to our ongoing “Missed Links” sermon series by taking a look at the story of Simon the Sorcerer from the book of Acts.
Day 1…Read Acts 8:9-25
this – the name “Simon” can mean a “rock” or a “stone”.
- St. Peter, for example, is named Simon.
this – is this particular Simon going to be a “rock” (that is, someone on whom
faith can be built), or is he going to be more of a “stone” (that is, the kind
of thing that gets stuck in a shoe)?
- Why do you respond the way you do? What makes you think this?
Day 2…Read Acts 8:9-10
this – Luke tells us that Simon practiced “sorcery” (that is, magic
arts…definitely NOT of God!)
- And of his practice, Luke tells us ALL the people gave Simon their attention, praise…even going so far as to call him: “The Great Power of God”.
- Answer this – what was Simon doing with all of this attention and praise? Where was he directing it?
- Answer this – what can you infer from these verses that tells you what Simon valued and what gave him energy and meaning in life?
Day 3…Read Acts 8:12-13
- Consider this – Philip arrives in Samaria and begins sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- Consider this – pay particular attention to the fact that with Philip’s proclamation the people “believe” verses are merely “amazed” at what Simon has offered them!
- Consider this – Luke
tells us that even SIMON believed in the Good News and was baptized…
- …at which point, he followed Philip everywhere – “astonished” (the Greek here means Simon was “constantly amazed”) by the great signs and miracles Philip was performing.
this – again by inferring here (and, in honoring the 8th
Commandment’s definition to: “…explain our neighbor’s actions in the kindest
possible way.”), how would you describe what was going on with Simon at this
- Is Simon being sincere, here?
Day 4…Read Acts 8:14-17
this – borrowing from an old advertising phrase, we’re shown at this point: “But
wait – there’s MORE!”
- Upon hearing what Philip has been doing, John and Peter arrive from Jerusalem – at which point they prayed for the new believers that they would receive the Holy Spirit (which they did).
this – again, inferring here, with what kind of attitude do you imagine folks
received this gift?
- How does that compare/contrast with what we know about Simon?
Day 5…Read Acts 8:18-19
- Consider this – upon seeing what Peter and John have to give, Simon offers them money.
this – why does Simon do this? What’s he
trying to accomplish by paying for the Spirit?
- What does Simon hope to accomplish by having the real “Great Power of God”?
Day 6…Read Acts 8:20-25
- Consider this – Peter responds…clearly, decisively and harshly.
- Consider this – in v. 21, when Peter says: “You have no part or share in this ministry,” the Greek word for “ministry” is “logos” (which is the same word for “Word,” as in Jesus)!
- Answer this – why has Peter been so clear, decisive and harsh with his pronouncement?
- Answer this – while Peter’s words to Simon are clear, decisive and harsh…is there any hope for Simon?
- Consider this – Simon
responds to Peter’s admonition by asking Peter to pray for him (specifically,
that nothing of what Peter has said will actually happen to Simon).
- Note – Luke very deliberately, though, doesn’t tell us what happens next!
- Answer this – so, what do you think happened? How does this story end?