I wondered why the story of Philip and Simon of Samaria was in this week's lesson. Well, of course, it was because Simon was a sorcerer. According to Dummelow's Bible Commentary the graphic details of Philip's ministry were obtained from Philip himself. Most of the Book of Acts are eye witness accounts and interviews that Luke collected. Luke stayed at Philip's house in Caesarea and met his four daughters, who were considered prophetesses. Paul spent three years in prison at Caesarea and that may have been when Luke stayed with Philip.
The people of that city had long been in awe of Simon's sorcery and believed him to be powerful. But once they heard Philip speak the good news of Jesus' life and resurrection, they chose instead to follow his teachings and were baptised, washed clean of their former beliefs in sorcery. This change occured because of the healing works Philip performed, what appeared to them to be miracles.
There are any number of public figures these days who seem to generate public worship. More and more we are seeing their immoral acts brought to light and they are being held accountable for their behavior. Those who formerly admired them, even patterning their ideas of success or beauty from them, begin to rethink their models. It is easy to be 'bewitched' by some new fad diet or get-rich-quick scheme, presented with sincerity by a spokesperson. But we need to stay awake and alert to such as Simon. Yet, even Simon was changed when he came into contact with the real thing.
The nativity is the real thing. Cherish every aspect of it as Christmas is less than a month away.
It has relevance in your life. Are you a wakeful shepherd or a Maji, studying to find deeper truth? Are you awaiting the birth of a new idea? Are you singing hymns and Christmas carols in honor of the season? Are you excited about what it all means?
Go in peace.