1. Exposition

What lies at the heart of the contrast between the activities of Simon and Philip?

Acts 8:13 (ESV)

13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

It appears that Luke contrasts Simon’s amazing the people by his magic arts with Philip’s astonishing them with the greatness of the power of the gospel. Simon puts up a show of himself, but Philip’s message brings true freedom from demon possession and sickness, and proclaims eternal life. The passage, therefore, pits the magician against the power of the gospel. And as it turns out, the magic could not keep its following, and even the author of the magic realized his error, abandoned it, and believed.