Interesting aspect of #Pentecost: the Medes & Elamites, listed in Acts 2:9 as being *present*, were extinct cultures! These people would have been decendants of these cultures living in Jerusalem. Thanks @howardleewhite for the great sermon today. (See also Wikipedia for more on these extinct cultures.)
The gift of the spirit is translation and vision.
The first impression the church made on the world was as a bunch of drunks. Their radical behavior is not unlike God’s radical move of
- sending his own Son
- turn the whole leader-servant and power-kingdom scheme on it’s head
- having said Son be crucified for the sins of everyone (and!)
- raising said crucified Son back to life.
Paul, and apologetics ever since, have taken up the task of explaining how these devine acts (in the gospels and in Acts) are both supreme acts of love and logical at the same time.
The Tower of Babel (people could not understand each other) and Pentecost (different people could understand) are bookends.
The church is a community–a human family–held together by the boundless love of God.
Penticost is one of those times when God ‘gets big’ to make himself obvious (in this case, having the people speak of his great deeds of power miraculously in multiple languages –verse 11). Other examples are the parting of the Red Sea, Transfiguration, and Paul being knocked down and blinded on the road to Demascus. At these times, God wants to make sure. Most of the time God makes himself “easy to ignore ” as Phillip Yancy says in The Jesus I Never Knew. This decision is central and essential to God’s methodology; a methodology in which he let’s us choose to believe, follow, and be in relationship.