Power Encounter, Acts 8:9-13:
“9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practised 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 baptised, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptised. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”NIV
‘’For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds’’ (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4).
What happened in Samaria was a ‘power encounter’ in which the name of Jesus was seen to be greater than that of Simon, and evil was defeated and overcome. Simon had ‘’amazed ‘’ (9, 11) the people of Samaria for some time, and had captured ‘’their attention’’ (10). But when Philip came along and preached Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, their ‘’attention’’ (6) switched to Philip, and via him to Jesus. Simon was all about himself. Philip was all about Jesus. For a time, Simon himself seemed to be a convert, but judging by the sequel it seems he wasn’t the real thing. It is by their fruits that we know them, and they can take a little time to appear.
It’s not surprising that ‘’there was great joy in that city’’ (8). Up until the time of Philip’s ministry, the place was under a demonic cloud. The people were held captive by an evil stronghold. But through the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Spirit, false ‘’arguments’’ were demolished, and pretensions set up ‘’against the knowledge of God’’. Thoughts were taken ‘’captive’’ and made ‘’obedient to Christ’’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Philip was not fighting with worldly weapons, but with those which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.