Opinion

Celebrating Pentecost

This coming Sunday we celebrate the day of Pentecost. In the story of what happened that day, found in the book of Acts, chapter 2, we find the crowds were astonished to hear the apostles speaking in different languages. They were even more amazed by the fact that those speaking in the various languages were Galileans. Galileans were looked down upon by the rest of Israel as being backward. You could always tell a Galilean by his or her accent. They had difficulty pronouncing many syllables. Remember when Peter warmed himself in Pilate’s courtyard while Jesus was being questioned? A servant girl knew that Peter was one of the disciples. How? Because of Peter’s accent, his Galilean accent gave him away.

So, knowing this, place yourself in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Here are these Galileans, people who have trouble speaking their own language, and suddenly they are speaking fluently in many foreign languages.

In their amazement the people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost ask the question, “What does this mean?” Pentecost means that God reaches out to his creation. It means that God wants to communicate with us. It means that God wants us to understand him. God takes the initiative again and again to make sure that we know his will for our lives. We have a God who pursues us down whatever paths our lives take. Our God is not a distant God who couldn’t care less about us. Jesus entering our world is a prime example of how far God goes to seek us out. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” That’s how much God loves you and me. The first thing that Pentecost says is that God is not going to give up on us.

“What does this mean?” Pentecost has a second message for you and it is this: God knows your life situation. It was a vivid and dramatic reminder that God knows every language on earth because he knows everybody on earth. God knows what you have gone through and what you are going through. God knows our language and God knows us.

Family members may not always understand. Our friends and neighbors may not understand our situation. Our co-workers may not understand. But God understands us!

“What does this mean?” Pentecost means that God gives the Holy Spirit to meet our particular needs. God not only knows our situation, God acts on our behalf. There is a difference in knowing that God is love and knowing that God loves and cares about you. He wants to be an active part of each of our lives.