Acts 2:5-8 – Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?’
Jerusalem was already a place where Jews from the diaspora had settled – from Egypt all the way to Persia: from Arabia to Rome. In that sense, it was a truly international city. How explosive then when these Galilean disciples were filled with the Spirit and started praising God in languages native to those areas. It was nothing short of supernatural. But what it means is that Pentecost should be regarded not only as the birth of the church, but also the birth of world mission. Whether Luke intends this also to be seen as a reverse Babel, or even a new Sinai (the law was always read at Pentecost) is not clear. He doesn’t really say. But what he does mean to say, by recording this aspect of the day of Pentecost, is that this gospel will not be contained in Jerusalem, but will spread out to the ends of the earth.
Prayer: How thrilling, Lord, that you are calling people from every tribe, language and nation. Let your kingdom come. Amen.