Monday, December 12, 2016
When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, giving them different languages, it created three responses. Verse 12 says the crowd was amazed, but some doubted while others mocked. I’ve wondered, if I had been there, which one would I have been numbered with?
I’m sure I would have been amazed at those men speaking different languages for the first time and doing so like a native. The crowd asked, “How is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language” (Acts 2:8). The one responsible for their gift was the Holy Spirit. The audience recognized when their specific language was being spoken!
I hope I would not be a doubter. Would I wonder and ask, “What does this mean”? Peter gave them the meaning by quoting from Joel 2:28-32.
The third group charged them with intoxication. How can a person be drunk and fluently speak another language? They took the easy path and saw drunks tripping over their tongue. Again, Peter’s quote of Joel 2 removed that response. They were witnesses to the fulfillment of scripture!
Before Peter could finish his sermon, all three groups benefited from the interruption, “What should we do, brothers?” Peter gave a brief answer then continued his warning with many other words (Acts 2:37-40). When finished, about 3,000 gladly received his lesson. Their bodies were immersed in water and their hearts were sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. God added all 3,000 to the saved (Acts 2:41). A new covenant and kingdom was begun, with confirmation given in signs, miracles, and wonders! Have you ever wondered why so many responses happened on that first day?
Perhaps the big reason is that folks were taught the scriptures from a very early age at home, in public, at their synagogue schools, in the Temple courtyards, by parents, other family members, friends, and neighbors (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Yet, homes did not possess multiple copies of the Bible as we do today. Scriptures then did not contain chapter and verses. Neither was the punctuation with periods and spaces between each word. Few authors were mentioned in teaching. Yet, the average person knew if a passage being quoted was biblical and who wrote it. Due to that background, discussions were possible and frequent. During his 3 ½ year ministry, Jesus was a showman, visiting every “hole in the road” with his miraculous healing and teaching. If you had not been healed by him, someone in your family or an acquaintance had. That sizeable crowd on Pentecost knew who Peter was talking about when he said, “Therefore, all the people of Israel can be sure of this one thing: God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, this man whom you nailed to the cross!” (Acts 2:36). They knew who Jesus was and they knew every passage of scripture Peter quoted.
The only way most of today’s society knows Jesus is by using his name in vain! The knowledge of scripture by first century saints puts our ignorance to shame! That is a sad commentary on our culture, our homes, our schools, our churches, and our pulpits! If today’s audiences had the same knowledge of God’s word as first century folks did, we might enjoy the same Acts 2:41 results.