Thursday, January 3, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Acts. 19.1-7A
“On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5,6)

 We read in today’s portion about Paul’s journey into the part of Asia known as Ephesus.  We see that while Apollos was watering in Corinth, Paul was planting here.  We see that Paul is not jealous of another brother in Christ building upon the foundation he laid in Corinth.  Paul’s focus is on spreading the Gospel and making disciples of all nations.

There are 6 points to ponder in this passage.

1.       “Have you received the Holy Spirit …?”  The person, the gift of the Holy Spirit is promised to all those who ask (Luke 11.13).  Many may think they have received God’s own Spirit, but further soul searching may reveal otherwise.  The tree will be known by its fruits, so do we bring forth the fruits of THE SPIRIT?
2.       “We haven’t heard…” These believers owned up to their ignorance.  They knew from their own nation’s history that after the death of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Holy Ghost departed from Israel, and went up.  They humbled themselves, so God would honor them.
3.       “Then what baptism…?” Paul wanted to know how they were baptized if they knew not of the Holy Spirit.  Their baptism was irrelevant because it did not point them to Christ.  In our case, if we are baptized but do not welcome and submit to the Holy Spirit, the baptism becomes just a ritual.
4.       “The baptism of John.” They tell Paul that they were baptized in the name of John by one of the Baptist’s followers.  These who did baptize in John’s name, unfortunately did not seek the one whom John was the usher for, Christ Jesus. 
5.       “…believe in the One…” Paul lets them know that John’s baptism was a very good thing.  John required man to be sorry for their sins and turn from them.  Yet John’s baptism was only designed by our Grand Designer (God) to prepare the way of the Lord. “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
6.       “Paul laid his hands on them…”  These believers graciously accepted that they were in error.  They humbled themselves before the Lord in Paul and submitted to the Holy Spirit.  Paul solemnly prayed for them and the great promise in the New Testament, God’s Spirit was given and received.  In the same way our beloved Bishops bless us with kaimuthu, Paul blessed these believers.

Prayer: God fulfill your will upon those who remain humble, and seek after you.  Let us, like these believers, do the same, in Jesus name. Amen.

Adarsh Abraham LIMTC -NY