“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.””
Acts of the Apostles 8:18-23 NLT
Power is a much sought after thing. Power is the ability to act. Power is often misunderstood as something bad but it’s something God wants us to have. Power in the hands of the right people is something wonderful, but power in the hands of the wicked is a dangerous thing.
Much of the injustice we are experiencing is due to the abuse of power by the rich. It seems like those with all the money have all the power. But the reality is that there is a power that the rich can’t buy!
Peter and the other apostles were laying hands on people and the power of the Holy Spirit was setting people free from demonic strongholds. Demons were shrieking as they loosed the captivity of the oppressed.
There was a former sorcerer by the name of Simon that used to make a profit telling people’s fortunes. After he was baptized and became a follower of Jesus, he witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit.
He asked Peter how much would it cost to purchase this power. Peter told him that he and his money could go to hell! In the Greek when Peter says, “May you and your money perish,” the word perish is the place of neverending fire.” The thought that Simon could purchase the power of the Holy Spirit and use the Holy Spirit for material gain was antithetical to God’s purpose of power.
You can’t buy this power. Why?
- It’s a gift of God when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Simon had been baptized but obviously hadn’t surrendered. If your heart has surrendered to Jesus as Lord you didn’t get saved when you got baptized you just got wet.
- Your heart has to be right. Your motives have to be pure.When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
- You are full of bitterness and jealousy. God is not going to give you the Holy Spirit when your heart is full of bitterness and jealousy. God’s power is not for you to show how great you are in comparison to the people you are in competition with. The power of God is for you to be able to heal the sick, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, and to act on behalf of the powerless.
You can’t buy this power! This power is not restricted to race, class, or gender. Anybody who believes in Jesus Christ can receive this power. Anyone who humbles themselves to become a servant of Christ will receive power. It is the gift of God and it can’t be bought. Petty people need not apply!
Thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for trusting me with your power. Thank you for building a powerful coalition in MICAH to bring about social justice for the poor and marginalized in Memphis. This power the rich cannot buy and they cannot deny. Thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit in my life!
In Jesus’ Name!