Read: Acts 2:1-13
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come and here we read about the powerful event known as Pentecost, fifty days after Passover. Once again, Jesus uses a Jewish event to usher in a Christian movement. While many were moved by the experience, some simply could not believe.
The faithful few were gathered as Jesus commanded, ready to receive whatever it was He told them about. Suddenly, He comes:
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:4
Jews From Every Nation
Jews were gathered to celebrate the harvest festival from “every nation under heaven” as Luke puts it. This stuck out at me this morning in a way I haven’t thought about before. God-fearing Jews from around the world were present at this event. It’s not news that there were people from a wide variety of countries with their own language, but the fact that these were devout Jews from across the globe gets my attention.
With the dispersal of Israel and Judah, the chosen tribes, it seems Judaism actually spread. That which should have destroyed the culture, i.e., the Assyrian and Babylonian exile of Jews, seems to have resulted in scattering Jewish culture instead of quelling it. Yet another reason to appreciate the Old Testament.
As a result, people from all around the world were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost–it was their tradition. But oh how the tradition would get super-charged!
(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! Acts 2:11
It’s no coincidence that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at this point in time. The impact is huge! Hundreds of people hear the gospel, then return to their places around the globe with the great, good news of Jesus Christ!
Not Everyone Is Convinced
How can the backward Galileans, those not a part of the elite, possibly be speaking in so many different languages all at the same time? And how can they be so eloquent? Once again, God chooses the least to make a statement for the masses.
Of course, not everyone is moved.
Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Acts 2:13
This comes as no surprise to most. There are always naysayers in every crowd. Take comfort when you hear disparaging remarks–you must be preaching well if some part of the crowd thinks you’ve had too much wine! (Just don’t have too much wine!)
Much more significant than a festival that marks 50 days from Passover or the end of the barley harvest and beginning of wheat harvest, this is the event that provided fuel for the beginning of Christ’s church on earth. The pace at which the gospel will spread is remarkable, to say the least. Things are about to get pretty exciting and challenging from here on out.
The Holy Spirit is now available to indwell in each person. It’s amazing to consider that the power of Christ is entrusted to each of us. Lord help us to embrace this with all our mind and especially with all our heart!