Reading: Acts 19: 1-7
Verses Five and Six: “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus… and the Holy Spirit came on them”.
Upon arriving in Corinth, Paul meets some disciples who have received John’s baptism. If we remember back into the Gospels, this was a baptism of repentance and preparation for the Messiah. If we turn to Matthew or Mark or John, we see a different baptism – Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit comes upon Him. This is the baptism that Paul now offers these disciples. It is the baptism in Jesus’ name. “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus… and the Holy Spirit came on them”. As the Holy Spirit comes upon them, they begin to speak in tongues and to prophesy. These disciples have been changed as the Holy Spirit has now moved in and now dwells within each of them.
For the baptized who claim Jesus as the Lord and Savior of their lives, we have the same experience. The Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence in us. The Holy Spirit does not just visit now and then but is a permanent resident in our heart. If we are open to the Holy Spirit and are willing to be obedient to the Spirit’s guidance, correction, reminders, … then the Holy Spirit will permeate every aspect of our lives. This is a gradual process of giving more and more control to the Holy Spirit. As we do this, self loses more and more control. It can be a long battle.
When we are honest and delve down into ourselves, we can identify little things that we still hold onto or struggle with for most of our faith journey. Sometimes we hold onto our “secret sins” for a while. Other times we have a ‘thorn’ much like Paul had. It was or is a constant reminder of our need for God. Our inability to rid ourselves of that thorn or to surrender that sin keeps us humble, recognizing our absolute need for God.
Today, as we read about a baptism, may we each recall our own baptisms into the family of God. That occasion opened us up to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Once we accepted Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit moved in and continues to live within us. The power of the Holy Spirit helps us to pursue God’s will and to accomplish His work in our lives and in our world. Thanks be to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit! May we ever dwell in the presence!