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The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost April 11, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 2:1-13.

Summary: In this passage, the Twelve were in one place on the day of Pentecost. At that time, they received the Holy Spirit; His arrival was signified by wind and fire. They began to proclaim the Gospel message to a plethora of Jews from sundry parts of the Roman and Parthian empires who had gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost; moreover, they used these Jews’ native tongues to this end. These Jews were bewildered, as they knew that the Twelve were actually Galileans. Some of them belittled the Twelve as drunkards, though.

Thoughts: In verses 1 and 2, we see that the Twelve were seated together in a house on the day of Pentecost (I assume that before they received the Holy Spirit, they persisted in their prayers for His arrival). Now I am curious as to the location of this house – especially since it is the birthplace of Christianity. I had always assumed that the Twelve had received the Holy Spirit while they were in the temple in Jerusalem, so perhaps I need to re-evaluate this assumption in light of these verses. Did God direct the Twelve to go to this house – or did He provide them some latitude in this regard?

In this passage, we see that when the Twelve were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in different languages. Calvin offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 11:

Luke records two things that filled the hearers with wonder. First, the apostles had been uneducated men who came from nowhere of any importance. Yet they spoke profoundly about the things of God and the wisdom of heaven. Second, they had suddenly been given new languages…The majesty of the subject matter ought to have spurred them on to think about the miracle.

I had never pondered the content of the apostles’ speech on this momentous occasion, but Calvin’s insights caused me to dwell on this point. One could make the following argument:

  • if the apostles had merely used their new gift of speaking in tongues to discuss relatively mundane topics such as the weather, food, and their daily routines, the Jews would have been briefly impressed – before returning to their own affairs
  • since the apostles used their new gift to discuss the Gospel message, the Jews could not easily dismiss their speech; since their audience consisted of “God-fearing Jews” who had a solid understanding of the Old Testament, they were able to connect with them on a deeper level.

One must wonder if an analogous miracle could occur today; if so, how would modern listeners respond to it?

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