A Cycle – 6th Sunday of Easter 23
Philip was in that upper room as Jesus appeared and breathed the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Philip was again in that upper room on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit came upon all in that room. Philip was anointed in the Spirit and in fire. He had received the gifts of wisdom, understanding and yes, he would have been praying in a strange language he never spoke before. Wonder and awe would have filled him and everyone on the day of Pentecost. He would have witnessed Peter running from that room unafraid to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah to the crowd of thousands encouraging them to repent be baptized.
Philip would have heard Jesus tell the disciple how He would send them the “promise of the Father” and that they would be “…clothed with power from on high” (Lk.24:49). Philip would have heard Jesus commission the disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations. Philip, like all the disciples, would have understood the task was to make unbelievers disciples and that was his intent as he traveled to Samaria. His words to the Samaritans that day were filled with power and as the crowds responded he tapped into the power of the Spirit and miracles happened. The signs and wonders were an outward manifestation of the Spirit at work among them and excited them. But apparently something was missing, and more was needed to make them disciples.
The mission of Christ was to proclaim the good news, heal the broken hearted, free the captive, reveal the heart of God and to die for the forgiveness of sin. God had promised that after the barrier of sin was removed by Christ, the Spirit would come and transform the human heart (Jer.31:33-34 & Ez.36;26). The Spirit would teach us and remind us of all Jesus said and did. The Spirit would teach us about sin and would change our hearts, allow us to overcome sin and temptation. The Spirit, which was breathed upon the disciples by Jesus would come to us and give us hearts that seek the embrace of the Father.
The apostles, after hearing about how the Samarians received the word and embraced Christ as the Messiah realized more was required. The excitement they were experiencing needed to be changed into a daily reality. Signs and wonders do motivate us and make us stand in awe, but they fail to create within us a hunger for the more God wants to have us experience. Think about how many wonderful retreats, conferences, healing services you have attended, and how your response was to tell everyone about it. But what we experienced did not last and we quickly returned to our normal routines. The impact of those wonderful events fades quickly.
It is not that we want memory of that experience to fade, it is just that we need something more than inspiring preaching or teaching. We need more than a good feeling; we need something to touch our hearts and create a desire that is only satisfied by the Spirit changing us.
The apostles knew the Samaritans needed more of the Spirit than signs and wonders. God’s purpose for sending the Spirit was for it to change us, teach us and lead us to a life filled with the presence of God. That is why the apostles sent Peter and John to them.
“Did you receive the Spirit when hands were laid on you?” Each one of us would answer that question by saying yes. But not the Samaritans, they said they never heard of the Holy Spirit. How would you answer that question today? We know about the Spirit, don’t we? At least we think we do but, we have been taught very little about the Spirits role in our lives. Jesus said in that upper room it was better that He goes because if He did not go the Sprit would not come. The Holy Spirit is critical to us as it is our source of spiritual growth, wisdom and understanding.
We have been baptized and have received the Spirit. But have we been baptized in Spirit and Fire? We need exactly what the disciples received when Christ breathed the Spirit on them for our inward transformation. We need what the disciples received on Pentecost for out external expression and witness of God’s presence in our lives. One is an internal conversion, and one is an external manifestation of the Spirit presence with us. If you notice the internal came first and then the external at Pentecost.
For many of us who are baptized as infants, our experience is more like the Samaritans. We need the Spirit for us to grasp the height and depth of God love for us. We need the Sprit to reveal our own purpose for existing and to discover our gifts to build up the body of Christ. It’s action within us is to change our hearts so that they hunger for more of the presence of God. It is the Spirit that keeps alive the experiences of God’s forgiveness as He loves us into wholeness. It is the Spirt that, like Mary, rejoices with in us making our souls proclaim the greatness of the Lord.
We all need to encounter the Spirit and literally invite the Spirit into our lives. We need to seek this baptism of Spirit and Fire and allow it to change our hearts (Ez.36:36), to feel the love of God flood us (Rom.5:5) and change us from people seeking grace into disciples dispensing grace. We need the Spirit to teach us and remind us of all Jesus said (Jn.14:26) and to embolden us to be the individuals who go to those who do not believe and share the good news of Christ and the Spirit with them.
All we need is to reflect on one simple line of scripture, “did the Spirit come upon us when hands were laid upon us.” If not pray for that to happen to you and seek someone who can help you by praying with you for an outpouring of the Spirit upon you.
2 thoughts on “A Cycle – 6th Sunday of Easter 23”
“All we need is to reflect on one simple line of scripture, “did the Spirit come upon us when hands were laid upon us.” If not pray for that to happen to you and seek someone who can help you by praying with you for an outpouring of the Spirit upon you.”
Truly the road forward, Deacon Dave, for all of us!
Seeking the Holy Spirit in my life is a daily occurrence… Needing the Holy Spirit in my life is a necessary daily need. Encountering the Spirit and asking him to be in me and remain with me is almost moment by moment especially during these ever changing times. Come Holy Spirit, Come!