PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• This is Day 6 of a 7-part series “Things We Can’t Buy.” And today, we’re talking about Love.
“Can’t buy me love, love… can’t buy me love.” The Beatles sang it so it must be true. And while their frontman-on-an-ego-trip who claimed to be bigger than Jesus was a big ‘ole wrong, when it comes to buying love, they actually got that one right.
But that doesn’t stop people from trying to buy it.
Let’s go to Acts 8:18-19 ESV. It says, “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”
To clarify, before we begin, this Simon is not Simon Peter—disciple of Jesus. Same name, different guy and as we’ll see in a moment, it was Peter who would respond to this request.
The Simon we’re discussing saw the power and authority that came from being a part of the early church. He saw the work of the Holy Spirit and wanted it for himself. But he failed to understand how it was obtained.
Let’s back up a little more. This Simon had been a practicing magician before meeting disciples Peter, John, and Philip (v 9). Under Philip’s teaching, Simon had believed and had even been baptized. Verse 13 says, “Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.”
Yet, Peter’s response to Simon was one of outrage. The Bible says, “But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’”
Simon responded, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me” (Acts 8:24 ESV). And that’s the last we hear from this particular Simon.
We can make a couple of assumptions from this. Either Simon was a false convert who was just looking for some power. Or, as a new Christian, he was an immature thinker who hadn’t fully grasped what all of this meant. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but only God knows the answer and only God knows what ended up happening to this guy.
But here’s the main point Simon missed. Being indwelled by the Holy Spirit is an act of love. It’s another gift, given to believers after they’ve accepted the saving grace of Jesus.
1 John 4:8b ESV says, “God is love.” Simon wanted to buy the gift of God with money. If we can’t buy God with our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), we certainly can’t buy Him with money. It’s something we can’t buy because only Jesus was qualified to pay for it.
The love of God is free. What’s sad is that people spend their whole lives searching for the kind of love that only He can give. It’s right there. There for the taking to anyone who will accept it. But too many walk away. Too many are content with cheap substitutes that leave them feeling empty and alone.
Love is a gift and God is love. No cash required.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His immeasurable love. Thank Him that He loved us enough to send Jesus to pay the penalty we couldn’t afford. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you show the free love of Christ with all you meet.