twelve weak men
"They answered, 'We have not so much as heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' " —Acts 19:2
The Ephesian believers talked and acted in such a way that Paul questioned whether they had the Holy Spirit. In response to Paul's question, the Ephesians said they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul then found out they had only received the baptism of John. Paul proceeded to tell them about Jesus and baptize them. Then, "as Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came down on them and they began to speak in tongues and to utter prophecies" (Acts 19:6).
Although the Ephesians didn't even know Jesus, they were able to receive Jesus and the Holy Spirit, both within a very short time. Why do some people receive the Spirit right away and others wait for months or even years? The Ephesians could receive the Holy Spirit without delay because they admitted their weakness. They admitted they didn't even know there was a Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). In their weakness, God's power reached perfection (2 Cor 12:9).
This accounts for the fact that women usually receive the Spirit more readily than men and new believers receive sooner than most of the "old-timers" of the church. The power of the Holy Spirit is not for those who pretend they're powerful but for the "merest children" (Lk 10:21). Will you admit to being weak enough to receive the Spirit?
Prayer: Jesus, I am weak but You are strong. Baptize me in the Spirit.
Promise: "I tell you all this that in Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world." —Jn 16:33
Praise: The faith and prayers of Sarah eventually brought her husband to the Lord.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Don't Stifle the Spirit on audio AV 56-3 or video V-56.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 16, 2006
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