Work of the Holy Spirit
Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples in Acts 2 began “declaring the wonders of God” in different tongues or languages. It must have been an amazing sight to see! These simple, uneducated men, who’d never taken a Rosetta Stone course in their lives, or been very far from home, began speaking in different languages and dialects. They were not just talking to one another but declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s glory to those who were there.
Learning to speak another language is difficult, isn’t it? Some people speak multiple languages or are gifted linguistically. I’m not one of them. Growing up, I went to Nihongo Gakko (Japanese-language school) on Saturdays for ten years. During that time, I made a lot of friends and played a lot of basketball, but didn’t learn much Nihongo. I have regretted that many times since then, like when I used to try to talk to my grandmother or took Japanese in college or went to Tokyo for work in 2008.
But it was not like this for the disciples on the day of Pentecost. They did not prepare or study or go to language school and yet they spoke different languages clearly and confidently. Acts 2:2-4 says, “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.” You see, this was the power of the Holy Spirit in them. It was a supernatural work of God! It wasn’t about them. They were the conduit. That’s how it is for us. The believers’ strength and power comes from the Holy Spirit that lives inside.
Acts 2 mentions sixteen ethnicities/people groups that heard the praises of God in their own language. From the beginning, God’s message and kingdom were never meant to be bound by borders or language or culture. After Pentecost, it says the people in Jerusalem went back to their hometowns and told others what they had seen and spread the good news of Jesus (see the map of the different places where the crowd came from). This was the birth of the church! What an amazing act of God’s sovereign wisdom and clear declaration that His church is multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic.
As we head towards celebrating Pentecost and the birth of the church, we get a picture of what the Holy Spirit can do. What can He do in your life?