8:14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
8:15 The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit
8:16 (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).
8:17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Unity among the church is something that has always been an issue. There are always reasons for people to disagree and even go far as separate and break apart. I think one lesson we can learn from the way the early church was formed is that the one thing that united them was their deep love and affection for Christ. Furthermore, their passion to spread the message of the gospel grew stronger and stronger. Right before this point, this very same chapter had give us a picture of how much the church was being threatened. Many were being persecuted and killed for their faith. The church was targeted and the time called for all who believed to become unified and stand strong against all that threatened them. It is amazing how right after that point, we see the church begin to grow. Persecution and fear was not at all hindering the word of God from being spread and accepted by those who heard it.
I think that this passage represents to us one main message: there is now unity among the Church and all those who came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Here we see that the gospel was now being spread beyond the boundaries of the Jewish people. The Samaritans and Gentiles were now being added to the church, the unity of the church was established. The church was growing and all of God’s people were being called to be witnesses for Him.
What an amazing picture and scene we see folding before our eyes. This passage can be an encouragement to our hearts to not allow for outside forces to cause strife among the family of God but rather unify us and cause to praise and worship together with one voice.
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
While many different interpret this passage in different ways I would like to highlight something that shows unity in the early church. The church was lead by the apostles in Jerusalem; at least until Paul started converting gentiles. What did the apostles do when the gentiles in the north started to accept Jesus? They didn’t question their theology or give them a lesson on the trinity. They didn’t give them a quiz in systematics or dogmatics. They went to the gentiles and prayed for them
They prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit to empower them to walk in the faith and ministry of Jesus Christ. May we all take a lesson from the disciples and be ready to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ without concern for whether or not they have all their theological ducks in a row. Serving our fellow Christians should come before criticizing them.