Today's Bible reading: Acts 2:1-13

The day of Pentecost is thus not - as is often said - the birthday of the church … but the day on which it was given power for mission.  Jesus promise came true: the promise of the Father, also predicted by John the Baptist, was poured out first on the disciples as the representatives of God’s new people.  The wind, tongues of fire, and the speaking in foreign languages by the apostles are all clear manifestations of the Spirit’s special coming.

Those who witnessed these special events are “devout men from every nation.”  They are Jews and converts to Judaism from countries around the Mediterranean who are living in Jerusalem.  As yet there are no Gentiles present, but these people are themselves a prediction of greater things to come in the pagan world.  Further what they hear is not a confused jumble of voices like the Tower of Babel - but a clear message presented in their various languages. The Risen Lord had opened the Scriptures for His disciples, but they begin to preach the clear meaning of Scripture only after the Spirit comes upon them.  Thus Peter preaches “the mighty works of God” as the fulfillment of Joel 2.  What the prophet foresaw is now taking place.  God has poured out His Spirit on all people.  “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  It is the Spirit who testifies through the apostles that Christ is God’s free offer of salvation.

Prayer: Oh God, on the day of Pentecost You taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the life of Your Holy Spirit.  Grant that by the same Spirit we may have right judgment in all things and always rejoice in His holy strengthening; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.