What was the meaning of all this about Jesus’ followers speaking different languages or “tongues”?

It was a sign that the impossible mission they’d been sent to accomplish was actually possible.

I love to rock climb, and I used to pride myself on never needing chalk.  I considered myself a good climber with just my hands, and sweat never seemed to make me slip off holds.

One day, as I struggled on what felt  like an impossible climb, a friend insisted I put some chalk on my fingers. I immediately realize what I’d been missing – I could actually do what seemed impossible if I put down my pride and got a little extra help from some chalk.

If Jesus’ followers try to spread the good news on their own, they will flail about like me on a difficult climb.  They simply don’t have the skills, the numbers, the power to reach the entire world with this message.

Think of the number of languages spoken, the various cultural norms to learn, the geography to consider.

But with the Spirit of Jesus living in them, speaking through them, acting through them, they could and they did.  There are 2 billion people in the world now claiming to be Christians.

One web site offers a film about Jesus in 1200 languages.

This was all evident in how the disciples began to speak in other languages, they never even knew.  People remarked that this was unlikely, since they were Galileans – not considered refined and educated people – with an accent that made it difficult to speak other languages.  One of those big barriers, language, was already being dismantled by the Spirit of God speaking through them.

In a world with lots of barriers, how refreshing is it to see the Spirit of God taking some down?  His good news about Jesus is for everyone, who speaks every language, from every nation.  Christianity is not meant to divide people, but rather it’s good news God uses to transform each and every culture, each and every nation, each and every individual.

Question: Luke never says what the people were saying as they spoke these other languages – what do you think the Holy Spirit would have said through them?

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