A Change of Heart
Bradon: Have you ever heard the expression a change of heart?
Jon: I think so! Is that like when the Grinch felt feelings, and his heart grew two sizes?
Bradon: No. Scientifically that is dangerous. I’ll fill you and the viewers in on what it means to have a change of heart in our next episode of the bible story podcast!
About the Story
Bradon: Absolutely, I’ll allow you to speak for me this time – only because I agree with you!
Jon: One final catch-up for our listeners. We have gone through Acts, chapters 1 through 8, and will be finishing there. Chapter 8, as we finish it today, will be the end of our series in Acts.
Bradon: The rest of Acts is awesome; we encourage you to keep reading. But you will notice a shift from the themes of the early church and the disciples that we have been looking through in the first half! So that is why we decided to break it there!
Bradon: Alright, Jon, give us some history!
Jon: Well, first off, I want to mention that some bible translations will mention Disciples a lot in Acts, sometimes it will distinguish between the twelve and the larger group, and sometimes it will not.
So, when it says in this chapter the disciples were scattered and spreading the news, it is more likely speaking of a larger group of followers of Christ, who also went as disciples.
Bradon: so it is a lot of people, not just the twelve.
Jon: Correct. Like I said, sometimes it tells us that, and sometimes we have to assume one way or the other.
Bradon: The Bible will often differentiate when the twelve and the larger group are present.
Jon: Correct. Up to this point in Acts, we have seen the church, in its’ very initial stages, grow quickly.
Bradon: Even though the Disciples were being persecuted, imprisoned, and whipped for preaching the story of Jesus.
Jon: They continued to do what they knew to be the right thing. Even amid some very scary circumstances.
Bradon: Not an easy thing to do, I assume.
Jon: Not easy at all. In our last episode, we even see one of these men, Stephen killed for what he was saying. The people stoned him to death.
Bradon: that is where we pick up today. Something to keep in mind. News, as we have said in previous episodes, moved slowly. There were no phone calls or computers. So even though Stephen’s death was a scary and horrible thing to happen, it would have taken some time for the other believers to hear of his death.
Jon: Yeah, news travelled slowly, but the other believers, although they were scattered all over the place, they continued to preach the gospel of Jesus. And even though they may not have heard of Stephen’s death specifically, they did know that speaking these things had major consequences, and things were only getting worse.
Jon: This chapter does not conclude the story of Simon the Magician. It does imply with his admittance of wrong and repentance that his heart is changed from its’ wickedness.
Bradon: When God changes someone’s heart it seems surreal. Or a made-up thing to happen.
Jon: I can see what you mean by that. Especially when we read about the quickness in which it happens. Here in this story, it seems like in a matter of sentences between people that Simon’s life is different!
Jon: But when we think back to learning about the Holy Spirit at the beginning of Acts, and the flames that surrounded the disciples, and the healing through only the touch of a shadow, it seems like God was really at work here. And even though it is hard to understand doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.
Bradon: I agree! It just really amazes me sometimes!
Jon: Absolutely, and with us being Human and God being God, there are some things we will NEVER understand, nor are we meant to.
Bradon: Okay. I think the thing I would like to highlight today is that God wants us to have a change of heart!
Jon: I think so too. Even though Simon was said to be believing in what the apostles were saying, it does not seem like his heart changed until later, once he was confronted by Peter.
Bradon: Simon didn’t even really know his heart needed changing until that conversation!
Jon: I think that is why surrounding ourselves with other believers and spending time in prayer is so important. God is the only one who can change hearts.
Bradon: Right, Peter didn’t change Simon’s heart; he called him out in his misguided nature and then encouraged him to seek God for that change! Jon: God wants to change our hearts.