Saturday, July 15th, '17
rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson
AND WHAT ABOUT CRISS ANGEL?
"...utter astonishment..." (Acts 8:9 Moffatt)
Simon of Samaria was a magician, the Criss
Angel of his day. Moffatt records, "he had been practicing magic arts in the
town, to the utter astonishment of the Samaritan nation". I don't know if he
did disappearing acts, walked through plate glass windows or raised sparrows
from the dead. Whatever, he kept the people spellbound, and probably made big
bucks in the process. A later verse says "he dazzled them with his skill..."
Could he hypnotize a whole room at once? A sign-seeking generation hunts the
razzle-dazzle. Herod was like that, he "had hoped to see some miracle done by
[Jesus]" (Luke 23:8), looking for recreation, not reconciliation.
Anyway, across town revival had broken out for
an evangelist by the name of Philip. Miracles were wrought in public view,
unclean spirits cried out while being cast out and the lame leapt to their feet
while joy flooded the city (vs 5-8). That, of course, cut into the false
prophet's profits. So Simon joined the bandwagon and was also baptized.
The text says he "believed" though it says nothing about him changing his ways.
The Bible adds, he "kept close to Philip,
utterly astonished to see the signs and striking miracles that were taking
place" (vs 13 Moffatt). Astonished, I guess! His "miracles" were smoke and
mirrors; Philip's were the real thing. This is a case of the miracle-worker
being out-miracle-worked. It was the same in Pharaoh's court; Moses cast down
his brother's staff and it turned into a serpent, to which the Egyptian
magicians played copycat, their staffs also becoming serpents. I certainly
don't understand the workings of psychic power, ESP (or is that ESD -
Extra-sensory deception?). They certainly didn't have a make-a-snake-appear
routine in their bag of tricks, but Moses vouched that it happened, "with their
enchantments" (Exodus 7:11). Here's where we say, "Wow" - "But Aaron's rod swallowed
up their rods" (vs 13). Jesus could easily win the "how'd he do that?"
competition if He wanted to (but He doesn't).
Criss Angel can seem angelic. Most have
seen his stunts on TV or You-Tube. David Copperfield can make airplanes
disappear...impressive. But Philip's God could make sinners whole. He out-wowed
Simon at his own game. Well, that's not accurate; it wasn't a game. Simon
offered Peter part of his savings so he could have the power to lay hands on
people and "confer" the Holy Spirit, like Peter appeared to do. Big mistake.
Peter fired back, "Death to you and your money, for dreaming you could buy the
gift of God!" (Acts 8:20 Moffatt) That was the closest anyone came in the Bible
to saying, "You can go to...", to which the carnal Christian, if he was a
Christian, begged, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things you have
spoken may come upon me" (vs 24). The point, don't be over-awed by
manifestations, signs and wonders. Simon was astonishing, Philip was even more
so, but razzle-dazzle was not the goal. Philip's miracles directed people to
Christ. As long as the right One gets the glory then miracles remain a valid
sidekick to grace.