“For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.” (Acts 5:36; NASB95)
“Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.” (Acts 8:9; NASB95)
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” (2 Corinthians 3:1-2; NASB95)
Theudas was “claiming to be somebody. Simon was “claiming to be someone great.” Read their stories and you will find that both were wind-bags, filled with nothing but hot air. Though they looked, at first glance, like men of substance, after a second look they “came to nothing.”
I once read a book entitled with an old African Proverb, “Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt!” As it turns out, both Theudas and Simon were naked men, offering their shirt to many—and many were taken in. Both of these men had large followings. Even in today’s world, huge crowds can be gathered and worked into a frenzy by those of no substance. This is true in the world of politicians, preachers, and peddlers of all sorts of wares!
On the other hand, the Apostle Paul comes to the church at Corinth and speaks about some who have come with great “letters of recommendation” from those back home. These men were trying to make inroads into the hearts of Corinthians. Paul’s response? He, in my paraphrase, told the Corinthians that he needed no letter of recommendation from “experts” from afar because his letter was written in their heart. Their changed lives were ample evidence that he has wisely invested in their lives and accurately given the truth. He did not need to “claim to be someone great”, but could humbly claim that he had been faithful through the years.
To close with another old proverb, “The proof is in the pudding!”
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
For more solid Biblical teaching, including a daily radio broadcast
from Dr. White, please visit Randy White Ministries.