14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:14-17 reveals the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans. The focus shifts from Philip to Peter and John in these verses.
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
Only apostles had the authority to initiate a categorically new beginning of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The unique situation of a new group of people coming to Christ required the apostles in Jerusalem to send two of their own to Samaria. Dispatching the two apostles from Jerusalem gave the 12 apostles’ stamp of approval for the work in Samaria.
Jews traditionally hated the Samarians and had nothing to do with them. The move into Samaria was, in effect, a major shift in the strategy of early church missions.
who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Peter and John prayed that the Samaritan converts might receive the Holy Spirit. Only apostles had the authority to bestow the Spirit to a new group, which incorporated them into the body of Christ or the church. The post-salvation reception of the Spirit in Samaria was a unique event and not the normal pattern of receiving the Spirit. That is why the Jerusalem apostles sent apostles Peter and John to Samaria. This action confirmed that the gospel had moved from the Jews alone to others who were not entirely Jews. The reception of the Spirit was a confirmation of their spiritual equality with believers everywhere.
Not all events in the book of Acts were normative.
Some people today believe that the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer after their salvation as a second work of grace. Some refer to this as a “second blessing.” Believers in Samaria did receive the indwelling Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation, but the issue is whether this historical situation is nominative for the church for all time. To put it another way, is the Samaritan case a transition issue at the start of the church or not? Clearly, it is.