Vs. 3, “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Question: What is going on here? The setting is in Jerusalem and Pentecost aka Feast of Weeks (Jewish harvest festival) is upon them. Pentecost was 50 days after Passover and it recognized the barley harvest and how God continues to provide for His people. How appropriate that Jesus was the Passover Lamb and now the Holy Spirit is given on the day of Pentecost. It’s important to see the timing of God as many Jews would make their pilgrimage to the Holy City. Jesus’ promise comes true in the form of the Holy spirit coming like a rushing wind (giving life) and tongues of fire (bringing judgment). When the Spirit was given, the disciples began to speak in tongues (vs. 4). Bear in mind, what was going on here in the first place. There were Jews from many nations (vs. 5-12) and they were quite astonished to realize that these Jews from most of Galilee were speaking in their native dialect (vs. 12). Some assumed they had been drunk (vs. 13). While there are differing viewpoints on the topic of speaking in tongues, one thing I want to point out that nowhere in Scripture are we told that speaking in tongues (Acts 2, I Cor. 12, 14) must accompany the Spirit baptism we receive upon accepting Jesus. We also see Peter stand up with courage and address the onlookers and subsequently thousands come to faith that day (vs. 14-41). Peter applies the Old Testament prophecies to the person of Jesus and calls for all to repent and believe. And then lastly, we come to a somewhat shocking yet beautiful picture of the genesis of the church (vs. 42-47). They were spiritually filled and devoted to fellowship (Koinonia – Greek), remember Christ and prayer (vs. 42). Some accuse the early church of looking like communism, however, the sharing of the early church was out of the “voluntary” goodness of heart and it was not something forced upon them. It reminds us of what our churches should look like today!
Regarding application…Being Together. Vs. 44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” We live in a world that teaches us to be strong and independent. You’ve heard of the adage, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” But, here we are reminded of a completely different paradigm of thinking. Here we see a community of believers just being together as one body. Question: Is this possible in the churches today? Absolutely! But, it starts with leaders in the church paving the way. It starts with members in the church “buying in” to being a community of believers. God loves His churches. We are not perfect. But, I sure hope and pray we continue to strive to be a church like the early church. Sometimes, I think we are too quick to assume that isn’t possible in this day of age. In my years serving the church, I connect with vs. 46, as a powerful reminder of opening our homes to each other. Many of my most cherished times as a church community is when we visit each others homes and just enjoy being together!