Acts 18: Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos
Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, ‘I will come back if it is God’s will.’ Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and travelled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
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Apollos was teaching accurately and fervently about Jesus, “though he knew only the baptism of John”. What background could he have had that would have left him not knowing about baptism in the name of Jesus?
It was Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2: 1 – 4)
All the apostles were together when this happened, and – presumably – all subsequent teaching about Jesus came through the apostles and those close to them. And yet here we find Apollos lacking knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps one lesson from this is that God uses anyone who is willing to obey him. Apollos was eager to tell people about Jesus, so God let him. Indeed, he encouraged him and sent him to the place and the people (Priscilla and Aquila) where his knowledge and experience of the faith could be both enhanced and used.
Thank you that anyone who trusts Jesus, no matter how weak and insignificant we are, can witness to him.
In Jesus’ name, Amen