1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
I was listening on the radio today and they were interviewing a 90-year-old gentleman who had fled Ukraine. When he had been ten years old head fled in front of the Nazi’s. When something unusual happens, when someone has an interesting life, it gets your attention. Being a refugee twice is not exactly how I want to be famous, but it got him on the news.
The disciples were gathered at a festival in Jerusalem. It as the feast of Pentecost, a Jewish harvest holiday. This was when the first grains were harvested. Like Passover it was a pilgrimage holiday, lots of people would be there from many different countries. The Holy Spirit decided it was time to spring the message of Christ on the larger world. With the sound of a rushing wind and tongues of flame he drew everyone’s attention to this group of twelve humble Galilean fisherman.
And when they came the crowds heard the good news in their own language. This was not really a miracle of speaking in tongues as much as it as a miracle of hearing in one’s mother tongue. It was as if the disciples were speaking in the language of their mother, using the words which had been wired into their brains from infancy. They all likely understood Greek and Latin and Aramaic, at least to some degree. This miracle was not necessary for communication, but it was necessary to speak to the hearts of those whom the Spirit called that day. So, He worked this miracle. They heard in their own language, not a learned language.
Peter attributed all this to the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit was poured out on you in Baptism and has remained with you your whole life. He called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified people on that day. He does the same through you. Watch for Him.