As we walk together through a new beginning here at McMinnville Cooperative Ministries, Pastor Kathy walks us through the book of Acts. Continuing on our journey through traditionally Pentecostal scriptures this week we’ll be looking at on the “tongues of fire” passage, with a different focus…
SCRIPTURE- Acts 2:1-13
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
BACKGROUND NOTES ON THE TEXT
- Acts is about the beginning of the Christian movement.
- Pentecost is the Greek word for the Jewish festival of Shavuot, or Feast of Weeks. The word refers to fifty days after Passover. In the Christian calendar it now falls fifty days after Easter. Shavuot was a celebration/remembrance of the giving of the law to Moses.
EXEGESIS (CLOSE READING OF THE TEXT)
- The disciples, of unknown number, are in a room where they have gathered to pray. This was their custom since Jesus had ascended.
- There is a rush of a violent wind, and tongues of flame rest on them. They were filled with God’s spirit. Compare this to the dedication of the first temple: 1 Kings 8:10-13. 1st miracle: coming of the spirit.
- They speak in different languages, much like Babel. But this time everyone would understand them. 2nd miracle: speaking
- Devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem (or having come for the festival?)
- They gather in a crowd because they hear the wind? The disciples speaking? 3rd miracle: hearing
- This causes amazement and astonishment: the crowd recognize the disciples as Galileans. (Uneducated? Because of their accent?)
- A list of places where the crowd comes from: meant to include most of the “known” world. All Jews or converts to Judaism.
- The response to the miracles: amazement, perplexity, and doubt (rationalization)
QUESTIONS THE TEXT ASKS US:
- The beginnings of Christianity were firmly rooted in Judaism. At the Coop we bring together many different strains of Christianity, as well as this background of Judaism. How do we honor all those beginnings?
- There are 3 miracles in this one story: the receiving of the Spirit, the speaking, and the hearing of the Word. Which have we experienced? When?
- As we move forward, do we feel that God’s spirit is in us? How do we know?
- The disciples had no idea what would come after Pentecost. Where is the Spirit leading us? What are our next steps?