FIRE FROM HEAVEN

Opening Prayer

Jehovah Jirah, my great provider, thank you for the countless blessings that are mine because you gave your Son, Jesus.

Read ACTS 2:1–13

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

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

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 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.”

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Footnotes

  1. Acts 2:4 Or languages; also in verse 11
  2. Acts 2:9 That is, the Roman province by that name

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Let us learn the meaning of Pentecost and seek a touch from the Spirit in our lives.

 

Think Further

This story begins in a house and ends in a public space with a large, multinational crowd witnessing the fruit of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. As at other annual festivals, the city of Jerusalem was heaving with pilgrims who poured in from both east and west, as the list of nations in verses 9–11 makes clear. Luke informs us that those present were all ‘God-fearing Jews’ (v. 5), members of the diaspora scattered across the known world. The miracle of Pentecost prompts two questions from those who felt its impact: how could they hear ‘the wonders of God’ declared in their own languages (vv. 5–11)? And ‘What does this mean?’ (v. 12).

It has often been noticed that this story has significant parallels with the account of the building of the Tower of Babel.1 Indeed, some suggest that what happened at Pentecost was the reversal of the confusion of tongues and the commencement of the reuniting of the scattered nations now enabled to hear the good news. However, Pentecost did not reverse the linguistic diversity which resulted from human arrogance at Babel. By enabling the members of the audience to hear the message in their own native language (v. 8) it affirmed local cultures and vernacular languages as vehicles for the global spread of the gospel. As to the second question, concerning the meaning of this event, it is that all peoples on earth may now be able to say, ‘God speaks my language.’ Justo Gonzalez observes that the Holy Spirit might have enabled the crowd to understand the Aramaic spoken by the disciples, but instead gave them the gift of hearing about Jesus in their mother tongues.2

Apply

Thank God for a church with more than a thousand tongues ‘to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.’3

Closing prayer

Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence in my life; I ask that you give me your power to tell others about Jesus. Work through me so that many will be added to God’s kingdom.

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by kingstar

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