The prophecy of Joel was that the Holy Spirit would be available for all people, and in Acts 8, we see the apostles going far and wide with the Gospel, and praying for believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
Why were the apostles travelling around? Acts chapter 7 tells us how Stephen was killed for the Gospel, and immediately after that the first persecution of the early Christians began. The persecution of the new Christians caused them to scatter away from Jerusalem and travel all over the area preaching the good news, and so, not for the first time, the enemies of the Gospel accidentally helped to promote the very thing they were trying to destroy!
Everywhere the apostles went, they were accompanied by signs and wonders. Miracles happened. People were healed. It certainly attracted a lot of attention. One of the people who noticed was Simon, a man who had become famous through practising sorcery. He knew a supernatural power when he saw one and immediately believed, but he didn’t understand the terms of the deal at all.
Simon may have been speaking out of ignorance, but Peter was stern in his response. Simon’s mistake was a serious one. His motive was to bring himself fame and glory with a power that was greater than any he had known before.
Signs and wonders are amazing miracles that can wake up a slumbering nation and turn unbelievers into believers. They are not designed to bring fame and fortune to Christians. We have no reason to believe that Simon did not genuinely believe – we are told that he believed and was baptised – and yet his motives were still not pure. If we seek the power of the Spirit, we must be willing to submit wholly to the Lord.
Lord God, search my heart, test my motives, purify me and cleanse me. May I bring glory to you in every action, word and deed.