In many church calendars last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday. That was a very dramatic event in early church history. Acts describes it as this:
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 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 them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs — we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
This must have been a very scary moment for the apostles. And, of course, it was a very dramatic appearance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to them but I don’t imagine they expected it in this way. All Christians are supposedly filled with the Holy Spirit. It is too bad that each of us can’t have it this same way. I think it would change much of our attitudes about living for Christ. There was such a dramatic change in the apostles after this event. They went boldly proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior whereas before they were very meek.
Some say speaking in tongues means speaking gibberish that only God can understand but the closing verses above paint a very different picture. To me these verses mean that the apostles were now able to communicate with everyone regardless of their native language. That makes speaking in tongues a miraculous communications tool not some self centered revelation. So, I will respectfully disagree with some as to what speaking in tongues mean.
One thought on “Pentecost – What was it all about?”
I agree. Speaking in tongues means speaking in a language, not gibberish.
Pentecost is rich in meaning. It represents the coming of the Holy Spirit as most people know, but when fully understood, it helps anwwer some of the toughest questions of life. As the article, The Secret Meaning of Pentecost, points out, Pentecost helps explain why God allows suffering in this world, why so few among the billions of people who have lived and died never had the chance to hear the gospel, and much more.