Acts 2:5-13 - Reactions to Inspired Speech

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The Day of Pentecost had fully come. History was in the making. The disciples had prayed for 10 days preparing their hearts for what God would do. Then, they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire rested on each of them. The disciples began to speak in tongues. The sound of speaking in tongues attracted a crowd. We can learn much from this historic moment.

1. The world gathered in Jerusalem. We must go to the world.

The crowd that gathered included resident Jews with roots in many nations, visitors to Jerusalem, and both Jews and Gentile proselytes or converts. The Jews who had come to reside from other nations no doubt had many relatives and friends in those countries. Those who were visiting would return to their homes. So the news of whatever happened in Jerusalem would rapidly reach the world.

Because the world came to Jerusalem, the gospel would quickly reach many countries. Ever since then, we as believers have been commissioned to take the gospel to the entire world. This is our responsibility. Motivated by the Holy Spirit, we must obey Christ's command.

2. The disciples spoke in languages they had never learned. The Holy Spirit speaks persuasively through us.

When the disciples were filled with the Spirit, they began speaking in tongues. The disciples had not learned these languages, but the people heard them speak in their languages. Today, millions of people speak in tongues. They speak in languages they did not learn. Most of the time these languages are unknown to anyone present. The tongues, however, are understood by God.

All believers are under orders from Christ to be witnesses. The Holy Spirit will inspire us to lift up Christ and proclaim Him as the Savior of the world. Our speech can be truly prophetic as we tell the story of God's love. Jesus pours out the Spirit upon us to enable us to witness.

3. The disciples spoke of the mighty deeds of God. As believers, we can praise God and witness through empowered speech.

When the disciples spoke of the mighty deeds of God, were they witnessing to the crowd or praising God? Both views are supported by scholars. Actually, there is very little difference between these two views. Praise is addressed to God, while proclamation is addressed to man. However, praise can serve as proclamation, and proclamation can serve as praise. You cannot praise God for His great deeds without spreading the knowledge of those deeds. In addition any true proclamation of God's great deeds will exalt His name.

As believers, we must always praise God for who He is and for what He does. We can exalt His mighty deeds. And when we exalt Him in the presence of others, we are witnessing. Our praises have an impact all who are around us. Moreover, every time we witness, we should exalt God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

4. The reaction of the crowd was mixed. We, too, will have a mixed reaction to our message, but we must keep on witnessing.

Naturally, the crowd reacted to the miracle they were witnessing. According to Luke (verse 12) "they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?'" The entire crowd was amazed. As we might expect, they wanted to know the meaning of this event. No doubt many were open to what God was doing, but they did not understand it.

Some of the crowd, however, went beyond amazement and curiosity. They were not open to the miracle that was taking place. Luke says, "But others were mocking and saying, "'They are full of sweet wine.'" Obviously, these people thought the disciples were intoxicated with this wine. This element of the crowd dismissed the miracle by saying the disciples were drunk.

Whenever we proclaim Christ, we will meet with mixed reactions. Some will reject what we say; others will be skeptical; but many will accept Christ. The Spirit of God is a powerful persuader, and there will be a harvest.

Conclusion

The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost had a worldwide impact. The relatives and friends of the foreign-born Jews living in Jerusalem no doubt heard about this great event. The visitors from other lands went home and told the story. The disciples became empowered witnesses. The fulfillment of Acts 1:8 was begun! May it never cease! Let us be filled with the Spirit!

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