The missionaries in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had received the Word of God. They sent Peter and John to them. When Peter and John got there, they prayed that the new followers might receive the Holy Spirit. He had not yet come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They laid their hands on them and the followers received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17)
Acts 2:38 tells us: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So why didn’t the Samaritans receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid their hands on them and prayed?”
From the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, we know that Jews didn’t like Samaritans. There are two reasons for the hatred. The first is that the Samaritans were brought into their land when the Assyrians captured the Jews in 721 BC and repopulated Israel. The second is that the Samaritans had also been Jewish, but the males had families with Assyrian women so they considered them half-breeds. The Samaritans lived in the Southern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem was in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and we know from Ezekiel 37:22 that God wanted these two kingdoms reunited. “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”
The receiving of the Holy Spirit by the Samaritans was the moment the two kingdoms of Israel were to be reunited. In order for the body of Christ and Israel to remain united, it was important the church leaders, Peter and John, be in Samaria for the occasion so there would be no question the Samaritans were baptized into the same church.
God showed us through the early church that He wants the body of Christ to be united. He doesn’t want Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, and Lutherans; he wants Christians who work together to spread His love and make disciples of all nations, one person at a time. Christians united are better equipped and empowered to do God’s work than a divided church.
Father God, I praise you because you have great plans for me, plans that will prosper me and give me a future. Bless me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Christians with different gifts to complete the dream you’ve placed in my heart. The glory of Christians united is Yours. In Christ’s name, I pray, amen