“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.(Acts 2:1-4)
Did the disciples know, when they woke up that morning, that today would be the day? And that after this day nothing would be the same? While some of the gospels talk about this day, this recounting of the coming of the Spirit seems more complete and full. I think it is important to note that they were all together in one place. That is significant, that the Spirit did not come individually, and that everyone of them was there. This was a group experience, so that no one could or would be left out.
“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Verses 5-13)
Note, beloved reader, that Jews were of every nationality at the time – just a passing thing to be aware of. But it also provided a built in witness to the power of the Spirit, and the genuineness of the speaking of the different languages. It is a small foreshadowing that Jesus and God would be Lord over all nations and all peoples, not just to the Jerusalem Jews. It is also a foreshadowing of non-belief and refusal to believe.
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “(Verses 14-21)
I think that portion of scripture should be titled “Peter comes into his own.” What a powerful testimony that bullish, impulsive Peter who denied Jesus three times takes the lead and explains what is happening – preaches a sermon right there!
We too, beloved reader, can come into our own. We can be touched and changed by the Spirit so that we might speak and preach, spreading the new of Jesus. We do not have to talk in tongues; in fact many devout Christians who have ministered and spread the news of God have never talked in tongues. The Spirit gives us the words to say, if we will but invite the Spirit in and listen.
This ends the Easter season for 2015. The Sundays that follow are what is called “Ordinary Time” the passing of Sundays until Advent comes again. To be sure there will be some special days, and scripture to help us observe those days. But for the most part there will be week days and Sundays that we live out our Christian lives. I will return at times to the theme of renewal and recommitment to the Christian life. May you find blessing in your ordinary daily walk with God. Selah!