Hi, how’s your week been? Mine’s been ok, not great, not terrible 🤷♀️
Know any ‘Magic’? Have a go at wowing your household with a few tricks of your own. Perhaps you could share a video to the Beyond Sunday page on Facebook, with the help of your parents/carers.
Can you share your secrets? Will you share them for a small fee? In today’s bible passage, we hear of a magician called Simon who thought the power the Holy Spirit gives was like a magic secret that he could buy. He was wrong.
Here is the passage from the International Children’s Bible:
Acts Chapter 8:2-25
Trouble for the Believers
2-3 Some religious men buried Stephen. They cried very loudly for him. On that day people began trying to hurt the church in Jerusalem and make it suffer. Saul was also trying to destroy the church. He went from house to house. He dragged out men and women and put them in jail. All the believers, except the apostles, went to different places in Judea and Samaria. 4 And everywhere the believers were scattered, they told people the Good News.
Philip Preaches in Samaria
5 Philip went to the city of Samaria and preached about the Christ. 6 The people there heard Philip and saw the miracles he was doing. They all listened carefully to the things he said. 7 Many of these people had evil spirits in them. But Philip made the evil spirits leave them. The spirits made a loud noise when they came out. There were also many weak and crippled people there. Philip healed them, too. 8 So the people in that city were very happy.
9 But there was a man named Simon in that city. Before Philip came there, Simon had practiced magic. He amazed all the people of Samaria with his magic. He bragged and called himself a great man. 10 All the people—the least important and the most important—paid attention to what Simon said. They said, “This man has the power of God, called ‘the Great Power’!” 11 Simon had amazed them with his magic tricks so long that the people became his followers. 12 But Philip told them the Good News about the kingdom of God and the power of Jesus Christ. Men and women believed Philip and were baptized. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. He stayed very close to Philip. When he saw the miracles and the very powerful things that Philip did, Simon was amazed.
14 The apostles were still in Jerusalem. They heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of God. So they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When Peter and John arrived, they prayed that the Samaritan believers might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 These people had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But the Holy Spirit had not yet entered any of them. 17 Then, when the two apostles began laying their hands on the people, they received the Holy Spirit.
18 Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people when the apostles laid their hands on them. So he offered the apostles money. 19 He said, “Give me also this power so that when I lay my hands on a person, he will receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter said to him, “You and your money should both be destroyed! You thought you could buy God’s gift with money. 21 You cannot share with us in this work. Your heart is not right before God. 22 Change your heart! Turn away from this evil thing you have done. Pray to the Lord. Maybe he will forgive you for thinking this. 23 I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and ruled by sin.”
24 Simon answered, “Both of you pray for me to the Lord. Pray that the things you have said will not happen to me!”
25 Then the two apostles told the people the things they had seen Jesus do. And after the apostles had given the message of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem. On the way, they went through many Samaritan towns and preached the Good News to the people.
This one a lady reads with pictures to accompany the story
This is one with actors and narration
For ages 3-7: You may want to retell the story yourself to help your child/ren to understand the story. It can be difficult when thinking of applications for young children but remember that hearing the story alone is valid. The main points to include are:
- Philip was one of the 7 deacons chosen to help feed the widows in the story from last week.
- The Samaritans were the first non-Jews to receive the gospel. They were a mixed race of people with Jewish ancestry and they practiced their own version of the Jewish religion. Jews looked down on them and thought they were lessor people and didn’t want to associate with them. Bringing the gospel to Samaria is just what Jesus said would happen in Acts Chapter 1 and again what Peter said in Acts Chapter 2 that Jesus is for everyone.
- Philip went to Samaria after the persecution of the church was just beginning and so it was a dangerous time to be speaking out about Jesus, but he was determined.
- When Simon met and heard Philip, he was baptised but then when he saw Peter pray for people and the Holy Spirit came, he wanted that ‘power’. It looks like he wanted the power to make himself look good, rather than so God could work through him and get the glory.
Things to ask or discuss:
- After you’ve shared the story and/or done a magic trick, ask your child/ren what they think of magic. (You could find a video clip if you wanted to show them a trick or two.)
- Ask them if they know the difference between a magic trick and a miracle. Talk about the power of the holy spirit being God’s power in us and how it is far greater than any magic trick.
- Philip, Peter and John went to tell the good news of Jesus to people in Samaria even though there was a history of them not liking each other and it must have been difficult. What makes it hard for you to share the good news of Jesus with others?
- Pray with your child/ren that they would know God’s power and be able to share the good news with others.
For ages 7-11: Read the passage or watch one of the videos with your child/ren. Ask them if anything stands out, seems strange or that they don’t understand.
Things to point out in a recap:
- Philip was known to be a faithful man and had been one of the seven men full of the Spirit and wisdom chosen to be one of The First Deacons for the church.
- Up to this point only Jews had received the Gospel.
- Samaritans had Jewish ancestry and were a mixed race of people with ties to the northern kingdom in the Old Testament. They practiced the Jewish religion but had their own version and their own temple in Gerizim.
- They had a lot in common with the practicing Jews but were regarded by Jews as inferior and unclean. They were looked down on by the Jews and also despised by non-Jews.
- They were avoided by Jews even to the point where Jews would rather travel around Samaria than go through it.
- Philip taught the people in Samaria about Jesus and performed many miracles. Samaritans received the news and became Christians.
- Simon heard the good news and was baptised but then when he saw Peter pray for people and the Holy Spirit came, he wanted that ‘power’. It looks like he wanted the power to make himself look good, rather than so God could work through him and get the glory.
- Can you remember what had just happened before this part of the story? (Stephen was stoned to death and the persecution of the church was beginning and the believers scattered away from Jerusalem but the apostles stayed there.)
- Can you remember the name of the man who thought stoning Stephen was a good idea? (Saul)
- Why didn’t the Jews like the Samaritans? (They considered them ‘unclean’ because they were a mixed race of Jewish and non-Jewish.)
- Why did Peter and John travel to Samaria? (To pray for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.)
- Who wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit? (Simon)
- Why do you think it was important for the new believers to have the Holy Spirit? (It shows the apostles and all other Christians that God saves everyone regardless of race or former religious belief when they repent and turn to Him. Everyone needs the help of the Holy Spirit!)
- Do you think Peter was harsh with Simon? Why/why not?
- The gospel was still spreading even though it was getting tougher to be a Christian. What makes it tough for you to be a Christian? It must have been difficult for Philip to go and preach to the people of Samaria to begin with because of the fact that they didn’t get along in the past. That didn’t stop him though. Have you got anyone you would find it difficult to talk to about Jesus? What can you do to help overcome that?
- Print off one of the colouring pictures or come up with your own! 😊
- Print off the Silly Simon poem and draw your picture of a Silly Simon!
- Using coloured beads (black, red, white, yellow and green), and string or wool, make a Good News bracelet with the following definitions for each colour. (Just like the caterpillar from May!!)
BLACK This represents the sin we all do.
RED This is for Jesus’ blood that was shed when he died on the cross, taking on our sins.
WHITE This represents us being washed white as snow when we ask God for forgiveness, through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection.
GREEN This is for growth and how, as followers of Jesus we should do what we can to grow in our understanding and love for God, through things like reading our bibles, asking questions, praying and serving God and those around us.
YELLOW This represents the new heaven and new earth that we, as followers of Jesus, will one day live in.
Wear your bracelet to remind yourself of what it means to be a Christian.
Follow this link to a classic revamped! See if you can learn the Makaton signs and how long it stays in your head!!! 😜