The Holy Spirit had not come on any of them, for they had only been baptised in the name of Jesus.
Many people are turning to Jesus in Samaria under the preaching of Philip. The apostles send Peter and John to investigate what is happening. They find that none of the believers have received the Holy Spirit because they have only been baptised in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John lay their hands on the believers, and they receive the Holy Spirit.
Many christians, and many pastors, are blasé about the words used in worship and in prayer. We all want to be spontaneous and led by the Holy Spirit.
I would not want to get trapped into a liturgical mind set where the words are recited by rote and with little care for their meaning. Yet, there are times when the words that are spoken are important to the Lord and so they should be important to us also.
The disciples in Samaria believed in Jesus and were baptised, but they lacked the Holy Spirit. This lack was so obvious that the visiting apostles saw it straight away.
The problem was that they had been baptised only in the name of Jesus and not in the full Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A failure in words led to a failure in the sacrament.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul takes the church to task for its inadequate expression of the Lord’s Supper. He even states that because they failed to celebrate Communion with the right spirit, some of them had died.
Words in worship carry significance.
Lord, purify me heart and my lips so that when I come before you to worship I do this with an undivided heart. Amen.