Acts 2: Babel has Come Undone in Jerusalem

Descent of the Holy Spirit DoreSo here we are in Acts 2. The Apostles have stayed in Jerusalem at the Lord’s request (Acts 1:4). Jerusalem is the launching point for the gospel to go to the whole world (Acts 1:8).  They have been with the risen Christ for forty days before he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:3) and now they have waited another ten days for the Holy Spirit to come (Pentecost occurs 50 days after the Passover… Jesus was crucified at the time of the Passover). I’ve written before about Pentecost, you can read a brief PDF here.

As we anticipated yesterday something amazing happens because the disciples were obedient to the Lord’s command. The Holy Spirit comes, they preach, and three thousand souls are added to the church that day (2:41)… They are indeed fishing for men (Luke 5:1-11).

What is truly amazing is that through the power of the Holy Spirit each person is hearing the gospel in their own language. It’s the tower of Babel in reverse (Genesis 11:1-9). At the tower of Babel God had confused the language of the people because of their sin and rebellion. But now Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He is calling lost sinners to come home. He speaks to them through their own native language here in Jerusalem and ultimately the gospel will reach to the very ends of the earth (Revelation 5:9). What was done at Babel was coming undone.

What’s compelling here is that these men, the Apostles have come to Jerusalem. It’s not their home. This point is driven almost to the point of absurdity when men of the crowd recognize them as Galileans (2:7). This was a big deal the day because Galilee was a somewhat recently resettled state of Israel. They would have had the reputation of back wood hicks (John 1:46) and probably looked and talked differently than the folks in Jerusalem (Luke 22:59).

At this point you’re probably saying, I get that they were from Galilee… What’s the big deal? Exactly! You’re supposed to ask that! You are supposed to see that the disciples didn’t go to their home first (in all fairness they had already been there through the years of ministry with Jesus)! They went to the city and they went to the city on the day that everyone from all over the world would be there. The gospel went to the nations by way of Jerusalem because the nations were in Jerusalem that day (2:-11)!

I think the bigger point here is to obey God (even in the small things) after all it’s His plan. Yet how often do we put our confidence in the flesh thinking WE have a snazzy plan… of course our snazzy plan usually discounts the Spirit of God and chalks things like a language barrier as impossible to over come or at least a long way off. Can you imagine if the disciples had packed it in and tried to gain a stronger foothold in Galilee?

Why Pentecost

We just passed the day of Pentecost on the calendar.  In the Evangelical circles in which I run the day is largely ignored.  It doesn’t carry the fanfare that Easter or Christmas receive.  It doesn’t even get the acclaim of holidays like Mothers Day or Fathers Day.  Generally speaking most Christian’s don’t even know the day has come and passed.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating a new holiday, but I desperately don’t want to forget the message of Pentecost.  Pentecost is about waiting on God to move.  It’s about fulfilling the great commission.  It’s about taking the gospel to the nations.  It’s about how the story goes on long after the ascension of Christ.  I challenge you to look deeper into the day of Pentecost. (By the way you can catch some helpful background on Pentecost here by reading a brief outline I wrote in 2007).

Easter Book Club (50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die)

I want to invite you to read a book with me and take a deeper look at why Jesus came to die.  Over the course of 50 days I will be reading a 127 page book (not exactly an overwhelming task).  In the process I will be blogging my response to what I have read each day and posting it here.  You are invited to participate.  Read along in the book, read my comments and share some of your own.

We will be starting on Easter Sunday.  Below is the scoop on the book, why I chose Easter, where you can get a copy of the book, and the schedule so we can read along together.

A few years ago John Piper wrote a book entitled, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.  Each chapter is approximately 2 pages in length and covers one of the fifty reasons.  I must warn you that though the chapters are brief, they are not always easy to process.  I have found in the past that reading one brief two-page chapter a day helps me to process the content of each chapter before moving to the next.

Easter is the time where we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost is the time we celebrate when the Holy Spirit came and empowered the followers of Jesus to bear witness to his death, burial and resurrection.  Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) there are 50 days between Easter and Pentecost.  This provides a great time to read Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die and meditate on the reasons Christ’s death (and resurrection) were necessary.

I will read a chapter a day according to the schedule and posting my response here on this blog.  I want to invite you along on the journey and share your thoughts here as well.  You will need to obtain your own copy of the book.  If you live in the Pensacola area I have several extra copies (for free) that are available on a first come, first serve basis.  You will need to e-mail me at to reserve a book.  If you live outside of the Pensacola area you can purchase the book in several places including ($9.99) and ($6.49).  Desiring God also has a PDF copy available online for free.

If you plan to follow along, please let me know either via e-mail or a comment on this post so I will be able to pray for you as we read along.

The following is a PDF of my schedule for reading: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die – Reading Guide.