Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 13: Year 1
“Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John:” (Acts 18: 24 and 25).
My initial thought about Apollos’ baptism of John is that that is the only baptism that Jesus himself knew. Now John the Baptist did talk of a baptism by fire and the Holy Spirit by Jesus, but there is no record of any baptism by Jesus himself, although he did set the example for all who choose to follow him by being baptized.
It was the 17th Century Anglican Priest, Richard Hooker, who said as Anglicans we have Scripture, Tradition, and Reason as our three-legged stool. And, unlike other Christian traditions of faith, we acknowledge that if any one of the three legs were missing, the stool would topple. Not only that, each leg must be the same length or there is unbalance.
Baptism breaches the line between Scripture and Church Tradition. It is Scripture that has been interpreted by the Church in many different ways depending on one’s particular Christian faith tradition. While everyone in the Bible were consenting adults, at least the individuals we read about, there are occasions where like with Lydia’s “household” being baptized, we don’t know the makeup of such households. There are other cases where households were moved to being baptized due to miraculous signs by the apostles. It is the Acts of the Apostles that really begins our Christian Church no matter what stripe we are. Baptism is the making of the Christian.
We must acknowledge however, that Apollos, in our Acts reading for today, “was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures.” And, he was baptized. So as far as he was concerned, he had done everything right.
The Acts story continues, “[Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately:” (Acts 18: 27). This still happens today. People move around from Church to Church as they grow in the faith. Apollos listened to Priscilla and Aquila and their teaching made sense to him. He already had the gifts, they just needed to be focused. Later, he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers. Grace then is the love component poured on us by God in Baptism (water poured on, or immersed in).
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John