Acts 19: 1-10 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ 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, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— altogether there were about twelve of them. He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
Reflection Can you believe there are Christians who don’t know about the Holy Spirit, let alone understand Him? I certainly can! Growing up in a Christian home, attending Sunday school, and in assemblies and lessons in school I heard the exciting Bible stories, and especially the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Being a child in an evangelical church, which had been the church of social reformer, Peter Lee, I learnt of the need to give my life to Jesus, and live that life to care for sisters and brothers. But I remember nothing about the Holy Spirit – we must have had the Pentecost story, but that happened 2000 years ago.
For me, my learning about the Spirit was sudden, dramatic, totally unexpected and unexplainable. After a boring preachers’ meeting, we were praying – I was thrown off my chair, and felt so small, insignificant before God, but yet also as big as the universe, full of God’s love for even me. They say I got up like a drunk man, I was filled with what I soon came to know as the Holy Spirit. From that moment, my life belonged to Jesus, I was ready to hear his call, and received spiritual gifts to make my service more fruitful.
Many will say that has never happened to them – my wife included. Maybe you, like her, don’t need such a kick up the backside. Perhaps you have the natural (or rather supernatural) gift of just knowing the Holy Spirit is at the heart of your life and allow Him to lead you in all God calls you to do.
So do I understand the Holy Spirit? Not likely. But then do I really understand Love either! Just receive God’s love, look to Jesus to know how loveable you are, and share that Love with all. That seems to be how the Holy Spirit works in my life. I am still learning to recognise His voice and how to respond. Isn’t it so exciting when we do this together
Prayers “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling And scatter there Thy cheerful beams. ” (Augustine) O Holy Spirit come into our hearts, that we may know we are sisters and brothers. Amen
The Rev’d Kevin Watson, retired minister, Woodhouse Close Church, Bishop Auckland.