Acts 2: 5-12 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
“What does this mean?” That is the real question as we look at this passage and what God’s desire is for us. In this passage, all these different nations, languages, and people are mentioned. Some of them are natural enemies, different colors of skin, different beliefs about God, and certainly different cultural traditions, but they have one thing in common. They are hearing the word of God preached to them in their language. They are hearing about who Jesus is because of the power of the Holy Spirit. What does it mean that everyone can know Jesus and have a relationship with Him? It means that we are all one in Christ, that a relationship with Him is open to everyone.
“What does this mean?” It means that as we seek to be better neighbors and to seek out healing and relationships, all are welcome at the table. As we look at this list, we see the world is gathered, waiting to hear and be lifted. The same Jesus comes to each person and nation in His way. In vs. 11 we hear the writer say they were declaring the wonders of God in each group’s language. That is how we seek to be – helping each group hear the word of God and how wonderful it is, how it will transform their lives, their communities, and the way they see each other. As we work through this time to build neighborliness, let’s work to reach out to those who speak different languages, who have different customs or cultural contexts, calling on the Holy Spirit to give us the power to cross those often difficult lines in the name of Jesus.
Holy Spirit Come! Come and break down the barriers of culture and language. Answer for us “What does this mean?” Help us to hear your call to be the first that brings in, not just different languages and cultures, but people who are different from us. Thank you, Lord, for being one, but coming to every tribe, tongue, and nation.