When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. 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.” “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”
(Acts of the Apostles 8:14-24 NLT)
This was a diametric shift in the practice of Jewish people. They, traditionally, would not even travel through the area of Samaria, much less go there intentionally. The power of the Holy Spirit had transformed these traditional men into lovers of God and man. When Jesus told them in Acts 1:8 that the power of the Holy Spirit would cause them to witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth, they may not have realized how literally true that would be. When God gets hold of us, we do things we, otherwise, would not want to do or would not be capable of doing in, and of, ourselves.
Interestingly, the people of Samaria had heard, received, and responded to the message of the gospel, had even been baptized in Jesus name, and yet had not yet revived the Holy Spirit. This is where it gets divisive. There are various interpretations of how and when the Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer. This can be contentious. However, it isn't meant to be. In fact, I believe we often try to put God in a box and tell Him how to do His business. We make our doctrinal proclamations and mean well with them. One problem: God is the one in charge, not our denominational creeds. I respect the fact that there are various schools of thought on issues such as this, but at the end of the day it is simply this: God can do things in the order He chooses, not how we tell Him to. It is clear in this scripture that Peter and John were able to impart the Holy Spirit to others by the laying on of hands(much like a father would impart blessing upon his sons in the Old Testament(see Genesis 48:13-20). Let's open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit and welcome Him back as Administrator of the Church! Can I get an Amen??
Simon the sorcerer had believed on the Lord Jesus and had been baptized himself. It appears that Simon was still caught up in the struggle with the loss of his popularity and prosperity thereby. We can only speculate about the exact motive Simon had. He wanted the power of God and was willing to purchase it with money. The Holy Spirit can only be received freely and imparted freely(see Matthew 10:8). God says "No Charge".
Rev. Curtis Norris