When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” (Acts 2:1-11, CEB)
This text still gives reason for debate and miss understanding.
What really happened here, because as I read the text I see/understand two different things happening.
First, the text says that those gathered were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other languages. So people are just speaking in languages they couldn’t before.
Second, the crowd was mystified because they all heard them speaking in their native tongues. This makes me think that every person in the crowd heard each of the disciples speaking in their native tongue. That is not the same thing as the first thing above.
Now either the disciples were speaking in a different language or the people were hearing it in their own language as the disciples spoke. Ok as I typed that sentence maybe they aren’t different. But they still are not the same.
Let’s say I start speaking in French. I can not speak French so that would be something like this. And you as a Spanish speaking person heard me but heard I was speaking in Spanish. Now I am not speaking in Spanish but you still understand what I am saying.
The point of this passage is that the boundaries from people communicating were stripped away. We were able to fully communicate and make God’s love known.
How can we do this today? What is keeping us from truly hearing each other?
Loving People. Loving God.