Experience - Day 9

Acts 2:7-13 NLT

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. 13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!

I love this passage because it speaks to God’s desire for the gospel to be taken to all nations (Matthew 28:19).  Remember, up to this point, God had spoken to the nation of Israel in hopes to use them to be a blessing to all people.  However, as time went on, and as Israel waited for their promised Messiah to arrive, they became more and more selfish.  They wanted Israel to be the nation in power, they felt they were truly the only special and chosen people of God, and they were keeping the truth to themselves.  

When Jesus came on the scene, part of what got Him in trouble was that He spent time with all sorts of people that the typical God-fearing Jew went out of their way to avoid.  Jesus goes to Samaria and meets a woman at a well when most Jews avoided Samaria at all costs.  Jesus healed the servant of a hated Centurion, a pagan no less.  Jesus crossed the sea to the region of the Gerassenes, a Gentile area, in order to heal a man trapped by demons.  Of course, it wasn’t just people from other nations, Jesus spent time in the homes of tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners.

However, though we have glimpses into the spaces Jesus wanted the gospel to enter, His ministry was by and large focused on Israel.  But this passage in particular is the beginning of the global nature of the gospel message.  And it didn’t take us long to get here.  10 days after Jesus ascends, 50 days after His resurrection, people from the known world begin to hear the gospel “in their language.”

The Jews believed that there was one sacred language, one language to pray in.  That language was obviously Hebrew.  However, Jesus opened the door to using other languages in prayer when in the Lord’s Prayer He used the Aramaic word for Father, Abba.  When He taught His disciples to pray in a different language, He opened the door for us to go to God in our own native tongue.  Some scholars believe that this simple teaching is the reason we have the Bible now in our own language instead of ancient Hebrew.

So now, as the breath of life (i.e. the Holy Spirit) is breathed into Jesus new body (i.e. His church), we see that the continued work of Jesus was now to truly go, “to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

As the periscope for today ends, I’ve always found it interesting that some in the crowd thought those with the Spirit were drunk.  Peter will refute this in tomorrow’s passage, but for today let’s just say that it’s our human nature to try and explain everything we see and hear.  We want answers, logic, control.  But sometimes, seeking an answer for everything robs us of the beauty in the mystery; the many colors of a sunset, the incredible length an eagle can glide, or the shivers I get up my spine at a thunder crack.  There is beauty in the mystery, that gap between the supernatural and our human understanding.  And I wonder what kind of person I’d be if I spent less time trying to explain everything, and more time appreciating the mystery?  I hope to find out.

  1. God calls us all to share His message to our Jerusalem (our homes), our Judea and Samaria (the places we live and work), and to the ends of the earth (the larger impact to the world around us)?  If you were to define who some of the people were in those spheres, people you may be here to bless, who would they be and how might you bless them?
  2. What are some of your favorite mysteries in creation, or those things in creation that you love to experience and contemplate?  Do you think those things tell you anything about God?
  3. Have you ever been ridiculed or made fun of for sharing Christ?  If so, how did you respond?  If not, how might you respond if it did happen, in a way that resembles Christ?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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