Baptism marks us as a child of God and brings us into His family. In the early church and in non-infant baptisms today, it is also an affirmation of one’s own faith in Jesus Christ. In all cases of Christian baptism today, one is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In our text from Acts, this was not the case. The new believers had been baptized but had not yet received the Holy Spirit.
John and Peter go to the newly baptized believers in Samaria to offer them the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer and the laying on of hands, these new members of the family of God receive the Holy Spirit. To invite the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in them was essential. For them and for us, the Holy Spirit is the living presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. This presence guides and leads us to live life as a follower or imitator of Jesus. The life of one indwelled by the Holy Spirit is a life that bears fruit in the world and shares the light and love of Christ with others.
The Holy Spirit also acts as a connector or unifier. It leads and guides us all in the same way, bringing us together as the body of Christ. Much as baptism brings each new believer into the one family of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit imparts into each of us a common DNA, making us one in Christ.
This day may we invite the Holy Spirit to be active and present in our lives. This day may we attune our ears and hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit. This day may our hands and feet be receptive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Come Holy Spirit, come!
Scripture reference: Acts 8: 14-17