2 When the holy day of Pentecost came 50 days after Passover, they were gathered together in one place.
2 Picture yourself among the disciples:
A sound roars from the sky without warning, the roar of a violent wind, and the whole house where you are gathered reverberates with the sound. 3 Then a flame appears, dividing into smaller flames and spreading from one person to the next. 4 All the people present are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin speaking in languages they’ve never spoken, as the Spirit empowers them.
5 Because of the holy festival, there are devout Jews staying as pilgrims in Jerusalem from every nation under the sun. 6 They hear the sound, and a crowd gathers. They are amazed because each of them can hear the group speaking in their native languages. 7 They are shocked and amazed by this.
Pilgrims: Just a minute. Aren’t all of these people Galileans? 8 How in the world do we all hear our native languages being spoken? 9 Look—there are Parthians here, and Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, and Judeans, residents of Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygians and Pamphylians, Egyptians and Libyans from Cyrene, Romans including both Jews by birth and converts, 11 Cretans, and Arabs. We’re each, in our own languages, hearing these people talk about God’s powerful deeds.
12 Their amazement becomes confusion as they wonder,
Pilgrims: What does this mean?
Skeptics:13 It doesn’t mean anything. They’re all drunk on some fresh wine!
This miraculous sign of God’s kingdom is astounding. The followers of Jesus are not known as people who drink too much wine with breakfast, so this fantastic episode requires some other kind of explanation. Unfortunately it is impossible to comprehend or explain what transpires on Pentecost. But this is not a novelty performance; rather, it is the foundation of the kingdom of God in that it establishes the church as the place where God moves on the earth through His Spirit. They expect a political kingdom, but God moves in people’s hearts to transform individuals and communities.
14 As the twelve stood together, Peter shouted to the crowd,
Peter: Men of Judea and all who are staying here in Jerusalem, listen. I want you to understand: 15 these people aren’t drunk as you may think. Look, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 No, this isn’t drunkenness; this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. 17 Hear what God says!
In the last days, I will offer My Spirit to humanity as a libation. Your children will boldly speak the word of the Lord. Young warriors will see visions, and your elders will dream dreams. 18 Yes, in those days I shall offer My Spirit to all servants, both male and female, and they will boldly speak My word. 19 And in the heaven above and on the earth below, I shall give signs of impending judgment: blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will become a void of darkness, and the moon will become blood. Then the great and dreadful day of the Lord will arrive, 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be liberated into God’s freedom and peace.[a]
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