The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Luke continues to focus on orthodox Christian teaching in Acts 19:1-7. Since Apollos has been corrected in his doctrine he is now touring as a preacher and teacher. When he turns up in Corinth, Paul, who has been working there, recognizes his ability. Paul leaves Apollos in Corinth while he himself goes up land to Ephesus. What’s happening with the disciples there?
We want to make no mistake of it. These are “disciples” of Jesus. It is not like they didn’t believe Jesus as their savior. But they had been baptized in John’s baptism and did not know about the coming of the Holy Spirit. We realize from this that there were people preaching and teaching about the risen Jesus prior to the time some fifty days later recorded in Acts 2. Anyone who had been in Jerusalem for Pentecost would certainly have brought that event as part of the teaching about Jesus. But these people in Ephesus were unaware.
What is our response to Christians who have been taught wrongly? We try to correct them. In this case, Paul taught about Jesus as the baptizer, the one we receive by his grace. Jesus is the one who imparts life and who sends the Holy Spirit. The people in Ephesus were baptized into Jesus, rather than their former experience in John’s baptism. They then found themselves filled with the Holy Spirit and engaged in prophetic activity.
Just another quick note. We see at the end of the passage that this group of disciples in Ephesus, a large urban center, was about twelve people. It is absolutely fine to bring the Gospel to individuals, small groups of people, or larger groups. Many in modern Christianity will glorify the fact that they have only a small group, but they are fiercely faithful to the truth. They say the genuine truth alienates casual followers. This may be true, but it is nothing to excuse arrogance. On the other end of the spectrum, there are many who are pleased that they have hundreds or thousands of followers. Those who don’t must be doing something wrong. This is also not necessarily the case. By God’s grace, the Gospel comes to many or to few. But the Gospel is always the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.