Our scripture this morning is Acts 2:1-21.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’.
At Pentecost, Peter and the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised. They are blessed with the ability to share the glory of God in a way that all those assembled in Jerusalem for the holiday may understand. We are told the crowds were amazed that “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (v. 11).
While I was a pastor, it was always difficult to get someone to read the scripture on Pentecost Sunday because of all the strange place names in this passage. Can you imagine how hard it was for people to believe the disciples were speaking in the languages of all those places? God gave them the gift of being able to communicate with a variety of different people to spread the message of His love as Jesus had taught them. This is the beginning of their ministry, blessed with new confidence and joy.
We may not be able to speak in foreign languages, but God has given us many ways of reaching out to our brothers and sisters around the world. On this Day of Pentecost 2022, we are called to join with all that have gone before us and continue the mission Jesus has given us – to make disciples of all nations and share the love of God with everyone. May we be brave and joyful as Peter and the rest of the apostles were on that first celebration.
Gracious God, You have blessed us to be kingdom messengers, carrying the Good News far and wide. Strengthen us in our faith to be energetic servants, glad to go wherever we are sent in Your name. Amen.