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Speaking So That All May Hear


 


 



 

ACTS 2:1-36

 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.


5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”


13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”


14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:


17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’


22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.


25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’


29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,


“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’


36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

 

SPEAKING SO THAT ALL MAY HEAR

 

There is perhaps no greater miracle described in ACTS than that the “unlearned” followers of Jesus spoke in languages that enabled everyone gathered for the Festival of Pentecost to hear the Jesus story. We Read, “utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” The “ends of the earth,” we read about in Acts 1:8 had come to Jerusalem, and the power of the Holy Spirit enabled the first believers to be ready to help them understand the gospel message. Miraculous, wouldn't you say?


The Day of Pentecost was a part of three great observances in Jewish life: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Pentecost was a commemoration of the first fruits of the harvest season and a celebration of God’s faithfulness to provide for His people. The background of the festival was significant in that God was again about to pour out His abundant resources upon His people through the gift of the Holy Spirit.


The sound heard that day was “like a mighty rushing wind.” The word for spirit is often translated as wind. While it may have sounded much like a tornado, the descent of the Holy Spirit was by no means a destructive force. It did not tear down; instead, it built up, filling the entire house.


The fire that appeared upon the disciples represents the power of God. It was a “baptism” in fulfillment of the preaching of John the Baptist. In Luke 3:16, we read “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”


The “filling” of the Holy Spirit represents complete obedience to the leadership of God’s presence. As an expression of their obedience, each of the believers began to speak in unknown tongues as the Spirit gave them speech. The crowd that had gathered for the Feast of Pentecost from all around the world was astounded that such unlearned people could produce such talk. Listen to the account, “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?


Peter’s response contains the so called first sermon in the book of Acts. This experience, that was so astonishing to many that day, was a fulfillment of prophecy (Joel 2:28). It was also the sign of the dawning of a new day. The reality is that throughout ACTS the preaching of the Community being gathered would be established upon the summary and meaning of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. The message that would move people everywhere to respond; ACTS 2 tells us no one is beyond the reach of salvation.


Peter’s preaching was spirit anointed! Through the power of the Holy Spirit many were led to respond. The emphasis here is not on the number 3,000 that accepted the message and were baptized. Rather, the stress is placed on the fact that this kind of response gave clear testimony to the incredible work that only God could make happen in a single day.


The outcome was a gathering of people who were quick to build upon their shared involvement with the Spirit. They were united, in other words. This unity provided the framework, the foundation, for their worship and witness.


Of course, God can still make such a miracle happen. All that is required is that we as Jesus followers be joined in harmony and open to the Holy Spirit, telling our story and trusting the Spirit to interpret our witness so that deliverance may come to all who will hear, receive, and believe.


Do it again, LORD!! DO IT AGAIN!


 

 

GOD, help me this day to be an example to others.

Help me so inspire them, encourage them, challenge, and guide them in the way that You would have them go.

May You use me to speak in word and deed to all whom I meet this day.

Amen

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