He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."Acts 19:2(NASB)
When the Word is rightly divided a mist of muddled confusion is lifted, and shrouds of misinterpretation are removed as the Spirit enlightens the mind. When Scripture is read in context, the temptation to modify meaning; corrupt the content or falsify truth disappears, and enlightenment floods the heart.
Israel as a nation was corrupt to the core and the Baptist called for national repentance. Christ their king had arrived and the gospel of the kingdom of heaven was taught to none but the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Messiah of Israel was called Jesus, for He had come to save His people from their sins, and God the Father confirmed Christ's Messianic claims when He spoke from heaven saying: this is My Son in Whom I am well pleased.
Though the prideful Pharisees, the bigoted scribes and the blinded leaders of Israel rejected their promised Messiah, there were those who responded to the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. There were those who had responded to the Baptist's call for repentance and John told the people to believe in the One Who would come after him- that is, in Jesus
How gladly this little group of repentant Jews had welcomed John the Baptist's message, and many were 'baptised' into John's baptism of repentance, during Christ's pre-cross ministry. But despite repenting of their sin, many had yet to believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
The Lord Jesus was the one foretold by prophets of old. He was that promised seed of the woman. But crucifixion, cruel nails and the triumphant cry of IT IS FINISHED had to be announced before the promised Holy Spirit would start to be poured out on the newly born Church.
And on that first day of Pentecost they were gathered together in one place, in obedience to Christ's command. But not all those that were baptised into John's baptism of repentance were present on that singular Day of Pentecost, when for the first time, the Holy Spirit was given to the Body of Christ - which is the Church.
Many who had received John's baptism of repentance, were yet to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. And so in Act 19 we discover the curious question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?' They answered him, 'No, we've never even heard of the Holy Spirit.
What joy for this little faithful band of Jews who had received John's baptism of repentance some years before, to hear of the gospel of Christ and received the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith in Him.
There must have been many who believed God's Word by faith, whose lives spanned both sides of Calvary's Cross, who were not present on that special day of Pentecost, when the Christian Church was born. What joy must have filled their hearts when finally, they were 'baptised' into the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God; 'placed' into the Church by grace through faith and in-dwelt by the Holy Ghost - as the fledgling church transitioned from the closing days in the dispensation of the Law into the opening hours of the dispensation of the grace of God.
Loving Father, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word. Thank You for the gift of the indwelling Spirit, Who has promised to guide us into all truth. Give me a teachable spirit, remove all traces of pride and may I walk humbly before You all the days of my life, in Jesus name, AMEN.