Phillip had gone to Samaria and was preaching about Jesus. Many were heeding what he said and the miracles that he was doing there. The whole town was filled with joy and everyone was talking about Phillip as a mighty man of God. In walks Simon the sorcerer, who had been there before preforming his magic. There was something different with Phillip. People were believing in Jesus and were being baptized. Lives were being changed, hearts were being healed, this was not just a show like Simon did it was real. Simon believed, was baptized and hung around Phillip being amazed at the miracles Phillip was doing. They were not at all like the tricks that Simon did.
In walk Peter and John, for they had heard what was going on in Samaria and decided to see for themselves in order to share with the church in Jerusalem what had happened to Samaria. The first thing they did when they got there was to pray that the people would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Peter and John laid their hands on the believers and they received the Holy Spirit.
This is when Simon's true heart shows itself. The Bible doesn't say what showed that they had received the Holly Spirit when Peter and John laid hands on them, yet it was obvious that something was going on and Simon wanted a piece of the action. He had come back to town to make money with his magic only to find Phillip doing something that he couldn't do. He believed that Phillip had a special gift enough that he was baptized hoping that is what gave Phillip his power and he would get it too. When he didn't he was disappointed, then to see Peter and John with this power in that they were giving the power that he wanted to the new Christians, he no longer wanted to settle for that he now wanted what power Peter and John had. Believing that everything revolved around money he sought to buy the power that Peter and John had, not understanding that God's gifts are free.
Peter warned Simon of the condition of his heart and the bitterness within. Simon didn't take heed to it. He didn't see that it was his own doing BUT something that Peter was responsible for and should take care of it. He was playing the blame game.
How many of us have done that, play the blame game? I know I have. It usually has a BUT in it. BUT he did this... BUT she said this and that is why... BUT you don't understand the whole circumstances.... Tried them all and they don't work. We have to own our feelings, be responsible for our reactions to what happened and take them to God ourselves before bitterness can set in. Just as Peter warned Simon.