Pastor's Pen

“And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying”. – Acts 19:6

As Paul journeyed back to Jerusalem, he bid farewell to his companions Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus. There, he preached to the locals, and many embraced the faith eagerly. They urged him to linger longer, but his prior commitment in Jerusalem called him away.

Meanwhile, in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla encountered a devout believer named Apollos. Though he was a gifted orator and follower of Jesus, he lacked knowledge about certain key aspects of the faith, such as Pentecost and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. With gentle instruction, they enlightened him about these elements of the new covenant. Apollos, now equipped with a fuller understanding, became an even more fervent preacher of the Gospel. He was dispatched to Corinth to fortify and uplift the church there. (Acts 18:19–19:1)

As Paul embarked on his third missionary journey, he made his way to Ephesus. There, he encountered some followers of Apollos who were acquainted with John the Baptist's teachings and Jesus' earthly ministry. However, they were unaware of the significance of Pentecost and the complete fulfillment of the new covenant after Jesus' resurrection.

Recognizing the gap in their understanding, Paul laid his hands on them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues. This miraculous event served as a powerful sign to the Jewish community, indicating the arrival of the new covenant in its fullness. (Acts 19:1-7)

The miraculous sign that occurred when Paul laid hands on the followers of Apollos marked the beginning of his third missionary journey. It served as a testimony to the Jewish community in Ephesus. However, after three months, some of the Jews who rejected Paul's message started stirring up trouble.

In response, Paul shifted his teaching venue to a lecture hall managed by a respected Gentile teacher in Ephesus. For two years, he taught there daily. During this extensive period, the word of the Gospel spread throughout the entire province of Asia, leading to a significant number of Jews and Gentiles embracing the faith. (Acts 19:8–10)

God affirmed Paul's testimony with a remarkable miracle: Handkerchiefs and aprons that had come into contact with him possessed the power to heal the sick and free those tormented by demons. This phenomenon requires us to understand the symbolism: In the old covenant, uncleanness could transfer from people to their clothing, necessitating cleansing rituals (Leviticus 11:25; 13:6; 15:5; Haggai 2:12–13). However, in the new covenant, this dynamic is reversed. For instance, a woman suffering from a defiling issue was healed when she touched Jesus' garment (Luke 8:44). Now, we witness an even greater miracle—a sign of Christ's ascension and the empowerment of his followers (John 14:12). Even garments that Paul had worn carried the healing power of the new covenant, demonstrating the profound impact of Christ's work and the spreading influence of his followers (Acts 19:11–12).

With the destruction of the temple, the outward practices of the old covenant ceased. We no longer observe Nazirite vows, and the idea of defilement or blessing being transferred through clothing is no longer applicable. Instead, the "clothing" of Jesus symbolizes his followers gathered around him.

In today's context, transmitting blessings to others involves embodying the teachings and spirit of Jesus in our interactions and relationships. This can manifest in various ways, such as showing kindness and compassion, offering support and encouragement, sharing the message of hope and salvation, and actively participating in acts of service and love toward others. By living out the values of Jesus in our daily lives, we become channels through which his blessings flow to those around us.