Coming Close: Fervent in Spirit

A weekly article by our Dean and Rector, Peet Dickinson

Peet DickinsonI spent a summer in Yellowstone during college and was always thoroughly amazed at all the geothermal activity around the park.  My friends and I love to visit the various geyser fields, and we always hoped that we might catch the eruption of one particular geyser called Steamboat Geyser.  Steamboat is the world’s largest geyser, and unlike Old Faithful, you never know when it’s going to erupt.  I never did see Steamboat erupt during my time at Yellowstone, but I just read that after eight years of silence, Steamboat Geyser exploded to life sending a jet of steaming water 300 feet into the air.  What a show it must have been!

There is a Greek word that could be used to describe the Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone and that’s zeo.  It means to be boiling with heat and when used metaphorically, it can mean zealous anger or powerful love.  It’s often translated into English as fervent.  So, with that image of Steamboat Geyser in your mind, read these words from Acts 18 about a man name Apollos.  Zeo is used to describe him.

Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. (Acts 18:24-25 ESV)

Apollos was a man who didn’t have lots of schooling in the faith or perfectly tidy messages, but he was fervent in spirit.  He was man in whom the Spirit of the Living God was so powerfully present that when he opened his mouth, it was like a geyser bursting forth.  And what was the subject matter of this boiling and fervent speaker?  He spoke and taught of “the things concerning Jesus.”

Apollos, the man fervent in spirit, was a great blessing to the church in Ephesus, even paving the way for Saint Paul.  Too often, I fear, we disciples of Jesus keep a cap on the speaking teaching of “the things concerning Jesus.”  Instead of being fervent exploding geysers like Apollos, we are dormant.

Let us pray that the Spirit of God will stir up in us and burst forth with bold and passionate proclamation of the things concerning Jesus.  Let us be Old Faithful Geysers and not sporadic Steamboat Geysers.

Heavenly Father, all too often I am dormant in spirit, but I pray that by your grace and power I might be fervent in spirit.  Would you, by your Holy Spirit, cause me to explode into life with the proclamation of the things concerning your son, Jesus, to a world that so desperately needs to hear of the salvation that comes in his Name?  For it is by the holy and precious name of Jesus that I pray, Amen.