Acts 19:5-7 – When they understood this, they were baptized into the authority of Jesus, the Anointed One. And when Paul laid his hands on each of the twelve, the Holy Spirit manifested and they immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied.
This passage gives us great insight to the secret power of the early church. Rather than a formal creed, Paul introduced this group of young Christians to the power of the gospel. Paul taught that our faith couldn’t rest on words only, it must be initiated and sustained by the power of God. 1 Cor.2:4,5 – “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” The Passion Notes described what happened when Paul laid his hands on these young believers.
“The Aramaic is “They spoke tongue by tongue and gushed out prophecies.” The impartation of the Holy Spirit and his gifts are here being transferred from Paul to these believers.”
So from Paul’s perspective it was essential for Christians to be filled with power. Because of this Paul emphasized the Baptism in the Holy Spirit characterized by speaking in tongues and prophesying. Here is a description from the Expositor’s Commentary.
“Despite their being known as disciples, Paul preached Jesus to the men as he would to any Jew. “John’s baptism,” he said, “was a baptism of repentance” that pointed beyond itself and the Baptist to “the one coming after him”–that is, to Jesus. So on their acceptance of Jesus as the focus of Christian faith, they were baptized “into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit and evidenced the same signs of the Spirit’s presence as the first believers did at Pentecost–namely, tongues and prophecy. Doubtless in Paul’s mind they were not rebaptized but baptized into Christ once and for all.”
Water baptism is really a picture or glimpse into a powerful spiritual reality. Water used in baptism pictures the Holy Spirit and immersion describes total immersion into God Himself. The world today is in great need of the power of God. Great programs and ministries or great singing and preaching can never change the nature of a fallen being. Only an encounter with the power of God can do that.