The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Acts 8:14-25 is an action-packed paragraph. We see that the apostles come from Jerusalem to Samaria because there are Christians there who have not received the Holy Spirit. By laying their hands on people, God uses them to grant the Holy Spirit. It is, of course, not clear from the text how people could tell that anything happened. However, there was apparently some noticeable sign. Seeing this, Simon Magus, who we met earlier, offers the apostles money to have this power of granting the Holy Spirit. Peter condemns Simon. Because he thought the Holy Spirit was a gift which could be purchased, he had no part in Christianity.
Some suggest that Simon’s faith must have been false, that he was never a Christian. However, earlier in the chapter it clearly says he believed. This is nothing other than an instance of someone believing Christ and then departing from the faith.
We see that when the apostles are aware of a problem in the fledgling Church they go and take care of it. Christian leaders in every age have needed to take the often difficult responsibility to guard doctrine and practice. Sometimes they have to recognize whether or not a move is of God or not. Sometimes they have to put the brakes on situations. Sometimes they have to urge others to action. This is a very challenging responsibility. We are well advised to pray for our Christian leaders, that they may lead well, and that, as it is our time, that we may follow well.
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