Holy Spirit at Work in Ephesus

In Your Bible: Acts 19:1-6 (NLT)

After Paul visited the churches in the interior region of Asia Minor he returned to Ephesus for two years, continuing to preach the Word. There the Holy Spirit gave new disciples power and authority to work.

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey

Paul, with Timothy, Luke and others visited the churches in modern Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, and ended in Jerusalem. Again, he experienced persecution and suffering. While in Ephesus, Paul wrote several letters to other churches.

New Disciples Receive the Holy Spirit

On his way to Ephesus Paul encountered some (12) new disciples. He knew they were followers of Jesus by talking with them, but he also knew they lacked something—power!

Then Paul challenged them with a question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? No, they replied, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2 NLT).

Then Paul said, “If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.” As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions” (Acts 19:4-6 Message).

Some commentators * believe this encounter was designed to qualify these twelve men as elders committed the care of the church in Ephesus. There the Holy Spirit gave new disciples power and authority to work.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your gift the Holy Spirit to empower me and guide me into what you would have me do.

Questions: Why do you think repentance is necessary prior to baptism? How is this account in acts differ from the Great Commission Jesus gave in Mathew 19? Do you there think there is a difference, if you consider the word Master used in the Message in Acts 19:7?

* Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary Acts 19:1-7, online at christianity.com

Be Prepared

Eyewitness: pp. 212,213
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 25:1-13
NLT: Matthew 25:1-13
In Your Bible: Matthew 25: 1-13; Ephesians 5:18

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (five wise and five foolish) tells us to be ready to greet the bridegroom. Jesus warns us, “ . . . you should always be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 25:13 Eyewitness Stories). Yes, be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Old Jewish Custom

Bible commentators* explain this wedding custom. Days before the marriage, friends and family gathered at the bride’s home waiting with anticipation the groom’s arrival. The bridesmaids would even go into the streets, waiting. At night they would need oil lamps.

When the groom did arrive, it was often late at night. He would send a messenger to announce his coming. Then only the bridesmaids who prepared extra oil to refill their lamps could go into the dark to meet the bridegroom.

Oil of the Believer

The bridesmaids heard a shout at midnight, “Look the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him” (Matthew 25:6 NLT). Jesus praises the wisdom of the five bridesmaids who had extra oil to refill their lamps – they were ready.

This parable refers to the believers’ readiness – constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Be wise and let the Holy Spirit guide you, as you anticipate his coming. Yes, be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven.

* The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew Vol 2, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1958, Wm Barclay pp. 319-321.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit. Remind me to always be prepared for Jesus’ return.

Questions: What are you doing to prepare yourself for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you anticipate his return? Are you ready?