8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
Satan is an opportunist. He is not wise but he is extremely intelligent. Just as he played Eve in the garden he continues to play us today. Like a puppet master he pulls whatever strings will ultimately serve his purposes best. In Samaria people were religious yet confused and conflicted. Their Assyrian heritage had gods to worship. Their Israelite heritage was one of faith also. Mixed together they believed in a God or gods yet who Jr what was "our there" was unclear. Satan was happy to fill the void with Ken like Simon. Men who through his limited supernatural powers could do enough miracles to attract people and fascinate them yet keep their minds off of the only true God.
In North America and much of the "developed" world Satan has taken a different approach. Rather than confuse our beliefs in the supernatural world he has withdrawn from the "magic tricks" while leading us to worship ourselves. We are placing our hope in our own abilities to solve our problems and create a better tomorrow. This road of course is failing. In every sphere we are heading toward total loss of control. You can be sure Satan has a strategy to meet the void when it comes.
In Samaria Simon was just such a guy - a tool in the hands of Satan to draw the masses into a false pursuit of hope. Have you noticed the rise in psychic fairs, the Long Island medium etc...? Satan's strategy is shifting here already.
However as in Samaria so it will be here. Satan has power but he is not match for the genuine. When Philip came to Samaria with more than miracles suddenly the magic shows lost their appeal.
Think of it this way: Money, good times, great sex, may all be enough to keep a relationship going but when a true relationship comes along those superficial things fade in comparison. Philip had more to offer than tricks and thrills. His miracles were rooted in a Person. His message was rooted in a Story. So compelling was the Story of Jesus which both completed the Story of their Israelite roots and exposed the emptiness of Simon style religion that even Simon himself was drawn in.
Many argue that the multitude of religions and the many competing claims about the supernatural prove that it's all lies. It may seem that way but no one counterfeits something that doesn't exist. False religion proves the real deal exists and like true love, when the real deal is found nothing else compares.
How is it with us? Is our religious experience merely intellectual or habitual or a crutch or comfort in trouble? Is it an insurance policy for the afterlife or is it rooted in a Person? We love a great love story because it has roots and promises something much greater than cheap thrills or the shallowness that pervades our society. Miracles are amazing but love conquers all. Philip brought the real deal to Samaria and it changed everything. He changed everything. Love Wins.