Sunday, October 14, 2012

On 10-21-12, Acts 8:9-24 or Act 8:9-25 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Simon Wants to Buy Power.

Simon Wants to Buy Power
 Acts 8:9-24 or Acts 8:9-25
International Sunday School Lesson
October 21, 2012

Jed Greenough

People like you and I can debate things until we are blue in the face but I think that the scripture today should make a couple things very clear.  First and second that it takes more than belief and baptism to make you “right”.
In my opinion Simon had gifts.  I would say that he no doubt was intelligent, that he was quick witted, that he had a flair for showmanship and that he probably had a way with words.
I don’t pretend to know all the abilities that were given to Peter but I do know that his nature from what we see in the scriptures was that he was quick to react.  Perhaps among the things that the Holy Spirit gave to him was to see what was in another man’s heart and so he saw within Simon.  My gut tells me that however is not the case.  My gut also tells me that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge Simon.
When I read today’s scripture I see naivet√© in Simon.  Wrong or not, Simon was doing things that he had a talent for in performing the acts that he was doing before the Good News came to town.  Having heard the gospel message he like many others there came to faith and was baptized.  What he did after that earned him a lot of the notoriety that comes to mind when we hear his name right down to the title of this lesson.
But should he be blamed? 
When Christ was explaining to His disciples the Parable of the Sower He showed how different seed, which are in reality people, react after hearing the Good News.  Some are on the path; some are in the rocky places, others in amongst the thorns, while others still are in good soil.
In my opinion Simon was the quintessential example of a new Christian.  With today’s scripture we see the example of sharing the Good News, the example of immediate baptism after coming to faith and Simon’s desire to be like those who just convinced him.
Of course Simon couldn’t just become an Apostle.  Nor could he be a teacher or anything other than a student.  The new Christian has to be given the opportunity to be nourished in the good soil.  They have to be educated but kept energized, their flame of excitement kept alive and their hearts continually encouraged.  As this occurs the process of sanctification can happen but it takes time.  Once brought along in this manner the no longer novice Christian can expect to produce a harvest for the kingdom.   
I can’t help but want to know whether Simon was brought along like this but unlike a lot of others I don’t think negatively about Simon.  I think his story accomplished much if we take this example and apply it to our churches today so that new Christians are properly raised up to do the work that their God given talents enable them to do for the Kingdom.

For Discussion:

1.      Discuss how new Christians are nurtured where you worship.
2.      Discuss how the things that a leader does within the Church can affect a new Christian from how they react to them when they are in error, how they demonstrate through their actions as leaders and so on.
3.      Did Peter over react?
4.      Discuss whether in your heart you think that after this Simon changed or not.
5.      Discuss the ongoing process of Sanctification.
6.      Discuss why the people had been following Simon.
7.      Discuss the people following after Simon, the Good News given to these people but incompletely and the following up of the Apostles to them and apply these lessons to your world today.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

10-28-12: Philip Baptizes a Man from Ethiopia aka Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:26-39
11-4-12:   Paul Testifies Before King Agrippa aka Paul before King Agrippa Acts 26:19-32
11-11-12: Paul Survives a Shipwreck aka Paul Sails for Rome Acts 27:1, 2, 33-44
11-18-12: Paul Ministers on Malta aka Paul Ministers in Malta Acts 28:1-10

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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