The Advent Part 41
Acts 2:8, “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?”
The Jews that had been scattered throughout the nations knew the languages of these nations better than they knew their own native tongue. There were also the proselytes, those who had converted to Judaism but were not of Jewish birth, who did not know the Jewish language at all. This is the reason the Holy Spirit gave those present in the upper room the utterance to speak in these languages, so that they might be understood by those who otherwise would not have known what they were saying.
The question of how it was that they heard, each in the language in which they were born, was a logical one, seeing as those speaking their language were Galileans, who by all accounts had not ventured to their native countries. Shortly they would receive their answer, and it would be an answer that would change their lives in their totality. It was not merely the fact that a miracle was taking place before their eyes that would compel these men to receive truth, but also the fact that they were being evangelized in their own language. Truth is a language common to all men, wherever they might be from, whatever their native tongue might be; truth is truth and is readily understood by all who have ears to hear and hearts to receive.
Throughout the centuries men have tried to stifle the truth, to eradicate the truth, to pervert the truth, to dilute the truth, and these individuals did not attempt this of their own volition but rather spurned on by the enemy of truth. No matter what they tried, the measure in which they tried, the violence with which they tried it, or the extent to which they attempted to do away with the truth, truth persisted, it remained, and it remains to this day. Men do not fail to find the truth because it is hidden, men do not fail to find the truth because it is unavailable or otherwise hard to find, they fail to find the truth because they are unwilling to submit to it, they are unwilling to give the truth its rightful place in their hearts, and because in their pride they will not acknowledge the fact that truth has preeminence over their preconceived notions and ideas.
What many find difficult to deal with when it comes to truth, is that truth will not bend, truth will not compromise, truth will not give a little to sway you from one point of view to another. Truth remains ever the same, uncompromising, and unyielding, readily available to anyone who is willing to conform to it.
Whenever we read this passage in the book of Acts, many of us have a tendency to gloss over the monumental, even herculean things that were being asked of these devout individuals who were hearing the Gospel being preached to them in their own language. The crowd who had gathered was comprised of devout men, who were committed enough to that which they believed in to make the pilgrimage from every nation under heaven, just so they could fulfill all the obligations of what the Mosaic law required of them.
These were not nominal believers in their religion, these were not the ‘buffet line Christians’ of today, who picked and chose only those aspects of their faith that were easy to live up to, or that did nothing to impede or conflict with their present lifestyle. These were men who kept the law with rigidity, who respected the feasts and the holy days, men who were set in their ways and cemented in their belief structure. If God could reach the hearts of men such as these, if God could transform them, then I submit to you that there is hope for anyone living and breathing to be reached and touched by the love and grace of God.
In our day and age we are unaccustomed to such devotion, we are unaccustomed to such steadfastness, and when we happen upon believers who take the Word of God seriously and who strive for holiness and righteousness we look down upon them, thinking them somehow antiquated or backward, not realizing that God’s standard has not changed, and He desires, even demands the same obedience, the same devotion, the same faithfulness and the same steadfastness that He always has.
When Luke uses the word ‘devout’ it is by no means accidental or hyperbolic. The men who were hearing Galileans speak in their own language were indeed committed to their belief system, and it was the one thing uniting all of them even though they were from every nation under heaven.
It was these men, these stiff-necked, rigid, unbending, religious men which were the first to be transformed by the power of God, and the truth of the Gospel after the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. It was these men that God chose to reach out to in love and grace and mercy as if to say to the disciples, if these could be reached, if these could be converted, if these could be made to see truth, then the task that I have set before you of going into the world and making disciples of all the nations is achievable.
God is able to do exceedingly beyond our wildest imagination or expectation, if we as humble servants would just obey. The men and women gathered in the upper room, I believe, had an idea of what the future held for them, they knew they would be marginalized, and persecuted, and murdered, because they same had happened to their Rabbi, but rather than beg off the responsibility of preaching a risen Christ to the most religious people of their generation, rather than beg off the responsibility of preaching the Gospel to the nations, they stood as one and said, ‘we are here Lord, ready to obey, ready for you to use us in spite of ourselves and in spite of our limitations.’
May we have the same heart, may we have the same mind, may we have the same faithfulness, wherein we will stand when others have long abandoned their post, and go about our Father’s business with the requisite urgency the times we are living in demand.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.