While Apol'los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the One who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all.
Now we hear that Apollos was at Corinth. When was this? Was it when Paul was returning to Ephesus from Syrian Antioch through Galatia and Asia? Was that when he came across these disciples in Ephesus? It seems Luke is suggesting this was around the same time. These believers, disciples of John the Baptist, had been nurtured in the faith by Apollos. So Luke tells us that, independently of what Paul and Apollos were each doing, their respective ministries came together in a supportive way. Paul personally baptised these 12 into the name of Jesus, and they were blessed with indisputable proof that God Himself was uniting all who believed and proclaimed the gospel of His Son.
So we see that the work done by Priscilla and Aquila at Ephesus helped bring this about. They had instructed Apollos. Jesus had told his apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit's outpouring in fulfilment of John's teaching. Now Apollos was in Corinth at the time Paul baptised these disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus. They had heard of John's water baptism, had known it pointed to Jesus but had not heard of the fulfilment, the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. That out-pouring was the true and authentic fulfilment of John's water baptism. John's water baptism had symbolised the baptism to come. And when Paul baptised these disciples he became a first-hand witness to the incorporation of the disciples of John into the church of Jesus. Like many other Jews of that time, they had been dispersed far and wide. But this was the harvest; John's work from years back had been kept alive by God's Spirit who had guided Apollos, and those taught by him, to meet the tent-makers Priscilla, Aquila and Paul. The early Christian church was a place where all kinds of people came together - Cyrenians, Ephesians, Alexandrians, Cenchreaens, Galatians, Corinthians and more besides.
These Jewish believers had originally experienced the intense spiritual refreshment announced by Jesus' cousin before Jesus' teaching ministry got under way. Now these pious believers were warmly incorporated into the church. In Corinth, Prisca and her husband had lovingly taken Apollos aside to expound the way "more accurately". And in Ephesus the Holy Spirit was poured out again. What an amazing time!
What do you think? What would happen today? I guess a committee would be appointed to inquire into whether these people should be welcomed or not. Argument this way and that way would follow. Maybe that is what did happen at Corinth. But there was a lot of blessing from God's Spirit coming from unexpected quarters. Paul's Corinthian letters reminded them that God's grace comes to its fulfilment as love prevails among those who are loved by Jesus Christ Himself. Better get used to it. We haven't seen or heard anything in comparison to what God has in store for us! (1 Cor 2:9; Isaiah 64:4; 65:17)