1On the day of Pentecost all the Lord's followers were together in one place.2Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting.3Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there.4The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.
5Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem.6And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages.7They were excited and amazed, and said:
Don't all these who are speaking come from Galilee?8Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages?9Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia,10Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome,11Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
“Firsts” are memorable. I remember the first day at my first job, my first kiss with the beautiful lady who would become my wife, and seeing each of our children for the first time.
Pentecost is about firsts. Pentecost (Pentēkostē – “the fiftieth day”) is the Greek name for the Feast of First Fruits (also Feast of Weeks/Harvest, compare Leviticus 23:9-22) which occurred 50 days after the first grain offering from the harvest. It is also the commemoration of the first coming of God’s Holy Spirit on each of the disciples which occurred 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For the disciples, the coming of God’s Holy Spirit was filled with firsts. There was the sound of a violent wind in the house (v 2), what seemed like tongues of fire settling on their heads (v 3), being filled with the Holy Spirit, and speaking in languages they’d never spoken before (v 4).
It was also a first for the people in Jerusalem. Imagine their bewilderment—hearing the disciples declare the wonders of God, not in Hebrew, but in the native languages of the countries from which they (v 5 “religious Jews”) had come. Firsts can be exciting and sometimes confusing (v 12).
Today (Pentecost 2013) is another first—the launch of theStory™. Welcome! It’s exciting and memorable. This is a first for you as a subscriber and a first for theStory™ development team. It’s taken the combined efforts of about 100 writers, 1 managing editor, 2 editors, 2 copy editors, 10 translators, 2 administrators, 3 organizations, 1 sponsor, 3 marketing and 3 technical staff to launch this publication. But we’re just the conduits. What’s important is that theStory™ was birthed in prayed and fueled by the Holy Spirit.
Now, as the message of theStory™ is proclaimed and pondered (in the next post you’ll begin reading the first words of the first story in the first book of the Bible), we look to God to enable us to move on from the alternative stories we’ve written for ourselves (with improvised scenarios and roles) and ask Him to help us become active participants in His unfolding story . . .
Living Word, First and Last, the Beginning and the End. Release the power of Your creative and life giving Spirit. Draw us into Your Story. Fill us so that we, pouring into the lives of others, may bring them to You. For Your honour and glory – through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.