now when the apostles at jerusalem heard that samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them peter and john, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. [acts 8:14-17]
peter and john follow philip
there are a few interesting, or perhaps surprising things here. first peter and john, two of the twelve apostles, follow in the footsteps of philip, one of the seven deacons they raised up for card for the widows in jerusalem. second, we know from romans 8:9 that every believer today has the Holy Spirit: “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
now struggling through what this instance of the Spirit coming in a second act of the apostles, an exception to the normal immediate indwelling at salvation described in the new testament, can be a challenge. but let’s just take a step back and look at the apostles’ action here: they don’t get puffed up with pride and tell everyone philip’s teaching wasn’t enough, and the big boys are here now. they don’t get paralyzed in fear of why these people believe and haven’t received the Holy Spirit yet. they simply acted. they prayed that these believers would receive the Holy Spirit, and God moved!
i don’t know about you, but often i get paralyzed by over-analysis. sometimes we won’t understand exactly how God’s working or why he seems to work sometimes and not others; and that is ok. it is never the wrong time to be obedient to God! we won’t always understand; that’s why God is God and we are his loyal servants.
Lord, teach us to trust in you when we don’t understand! forgive us for thinking we need to understand everything before we act, and help us to grow in our obedience to you.
~ stephen hall