July 22

Acts 8:14-16 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

After Stephen was murdered, the Jews that opposed the church began to imprison Jesus' followers. The believers scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, preaching the Word as they went. Philip went to a city of Samaria. When the people saw the miracles that God did through him and heard his preaching, they paid close attention to what he said.

The apostles had remained in Jerusalem. On hearing the good news that Samaria was accepting the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to help. Philip had preached the good news successfully; yet no one had been filled with the Spirit. Peter and John prayed that they would be filled. They knew how important it was to have the Spirit working through them to produce lasting results. They remembered how Jesus had asked them to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Spirit, who would empower them for ministry. These new converts in Samaria were like the disciples before Pentecost. The believed and were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Yet they still lacked the power that would enable them to really be a witness of the new life in Christ.

After praying for them, they laid hands on the new converts who were filled with the Holy Spirit. Later in the same chapter, a man wanted to pay them money to receive the Spirit. Obviously, they did not lay hands on everyone, or he would not have had to make such an offer. He was rebuked for the very idea that the gift of God can be purchased.

Reader, do you sense the need for the power to be an example of the Christian life. To be a witness not only means to tell others, but to live an example before others. If you are willing to obey, to let Jesus be the Master of your life, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. He will (Luke 11:13)!

Remember: You need His power to be a witness.