Sometimes, when we read the Bible, we are quite good at missing the point!
The Pentecost story is a great example. My experience, growing up in the church, is that the story of Pentecost has always been a fraught subject. This remarkable story, of the Spirit of Mission fulfilling Christ’s promise to the disciples, instead somehow gets bogged down in arguments about whether all true Christians should speak in tongues or whether spiritual gifts were just for the apostolic age... Is that really what Pentecost is about?
It seems to me that the key to this story is the question the crowd asked the disciples:
Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” - Acts 2:12
Peter goes on to answer that question in his sermon in the following verses, but I think that Peter’s answer is incomplete without reading and understanding verses 8-11:
Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” - Acts 2:8-11
Take a moment to plot those places on a map. What do you see?
Already, right at the beginning, the Spirit of Mission is signalling His intent that the Good News of Jesus is for all people, all across the world.
This Pentecost, will you renew your commitment to the Spirit’s cross-cultural mission?