Baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus
"And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' And they said, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said, 'Into what then were you baptized?' They said, 'Into John's baptism.' And Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying."
- Acts 19:1-6
In the assigned readings for last Sunday, we learn about the baptism of Jesus and the baptism through Jesus in which believers were given the Holy Spirit. That Spirit was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies such as Joel 2:28-29: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit."
John's baptism was one of repentance that made the way for this baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now that Jesus had died on behalf of sin, was resurrected, and had ascended to the Father, John's baptism was no longer needed. The true baptism was here. Jesus was ready to pour out the promised Spirit upon all those who believed in him.
And just as the prophets had said, that promised Spirit brought God's power on all people. Unlike the Old Testament times when the Spirit was given to specific people for specific tasks, the Spirit now was poured out on the young and the old, the men and the women, the property owner and the servant. All were included and all were given gifts - gifts such a speaking in tongues, prophecy, and dreams. Paul wanted every believer to experience this baptism with the Holy Spirit. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God's people were equipped to build the kingdom of God. Their hearts were transformed, and they received incredible new opportunities for ministry within the church and the community.
Paul would still have us to embrace these gifts. Many believers in the church today know that they have been given the Holy Spirit in baptism, but they fail to unwrap the many gifts of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is not always comfortable, but it is always good. We find joy, healing, and purpose for our lives in this Holy Spirit. We, too, are equipped with new gifts to build the body of Christ. Paul would ask you today if you are living in the power and presence of this Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus surrendered to the will of his Father, so we are called to surrender to the will of the Holy Spirit. In him you will find life, abundant life. Will you surrender, be filled, and be led by this Holy Spirit today? Reflection:
How do you view the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life? Would he have more for you to experience of him, his power, and his work in you and through you?