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After Paul left Athens, he traveled to a city called Corinth where he met a man named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. They were tentmakers like Paul was, so Paul stayed there and worked with them.
Of course, Paul continued shouting out the good news that Jesus was the Promised Rescuer. Many people were believing and being baptized, including the leader of the Jewish religious building there!
One night Jesus spoke to Paul and said, “Don’t be afraid. Keep on talking. I’m with you. No one is going to hurt you here.”
So Paul stayed in Corinth for a long while, but eventually, he set sail for Syria. Priscilla and Aquila went along with him to keep him company. But when they arrived at Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there and set sail for Caesarea. Then he went on to Jerusalem and greeted God’s busy beehive of action there, and then he went on to Antioch.
After spending some time in Antioch, Paul traveled from place to place, strengthening all the disciples.
Meanwhile, a believer named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was a Jew who understood a lot of things. Boldly and energetically he taught about Jesus… buuuuut he didn’t know about the Holy Spirit coming to live inside of people. (Gulp! That’s a big deal, huh?) When Priscilla and Aquila realized this, they invited him to their house and explained to him what he was missing.
After that Apollos continued traveling, boldly proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Shining Rescuer.
Some time later when Paul was on his way to Ephesus, he bumped into some followers of Jesus, about 12 of them. But Paul noticed something was different about these guys, so he asked them, “Ummm… Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They said, “Uhhh… We’ve never even heard of a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Well, what kind of baptism did you have?”
They said, “The one John taught about.”
So Paul explained to them, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. But he told people to believe in the one who would come after him, and that one is Jesus.”
When they heard about what they’d been missing, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus right away. Then Paul put his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking different languages and speaking words from Heaven.
Are you wondering HOW these men could be followers of Jesus and not know about the Holy Spirit? Well, you have to remember that the news about Jesus was spreading through talk, rumors. And not everyone who was spreading the rumors was close to Jesus. Not all had walked with Jesus. God still needed gifted men and women to spread His word correctly. And while, evidently, Apollos was an incredibly, powerfully, persuasive guy when it came to proving from the scriptures that Jesus was the Rescuer… And while these 12 men seemed to be sincerely trying to follow the ways of Jesus… they were still missing out. While these 12 guys may have been FOLLOWERS of Jesus, they were not yet CHRIST-ians — Christians — since they didn’t have the anointed power from on high to be those little shining ones we’ve been talking about.
But God loved them and took care of them by sending them gifted people who noticed that they didn’t have Holy Spirit Power, and who cared enough to speak up and help them.
As Paul continued on, many believed, but some were stubborn. Paul talked with people in this region every day for years. Because of his work, every Jew and not-Jew in the area heard the truth of God.
It was a powerful time. God used Paul to do some very special miracles. Some people took little towels or aprons that Paul had used and put them on the sick. And when they did, the sick were healed!
And it was a crazy time too. Like when seven men tried to pretend that they had the same power as Paul, and a man of satan beat them up saying, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul… but I don’t know you, so take that.” This woke up so many people from their evil laze and daze that they started apologizing aloud for the evil they’d done. Many of those people had been involved in bad magic, so they burned their evil magic stuff… (Stuff equal to millions of dollars!)
And another time, some enemies stirred up an angry mob. When the mob couldn’t find Paul, they grabbed a couple of other Christians and dragged them into a huge arena. Some people were shouting one thing… some were shouting another. It was complete chaos. Most of the people didn’t even know why they were there.
When Paul found out about it, he could hardly stand it. He reallllly wanted to go into the arena and talk to all the people, but the other believers stopped him. “Paul, please no. Please don’t go in there. Please!” Eventually, the crowd got so mad they just started screaming, “Great is our false god of Ephesus! Great is our false god of Ephesus! Great is our false god of Ephesus!” (Except they weren’t saying “false god.”) They yelled this at the top of their lungs for TWO hours. And that’s a really long time to yell one sentence.
I told ya. Crazy stuff. But God’s word kept spreading and growing in a powerful way.
Can you imagine being yelled at for several hours? And needing to stay calm and peaceful in the middle of complete chaos? Well, this kind of thing will happen again someday. So if you want to be a follower of Jesus, you gotta be ready for anything. Remember that the next time you are in a room with loud noises because that’s a great time to practice being calm and peaceful in crazy situations.