They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!”   – Acts 2:7-8 NLT

During the time of the apostles, Jews were already scattered all over the world. They spoke different languages, adopted the culture of their host nations and were content with remaining outside Israel. Yet, on special occasions these Jews took the time to visit Jerusalem. The day of Pentecost was one of three Jewish holidays that called for a pilgrimage to the holy city.

It was on this day that the Lord decided to interrupt the normal routines of a nation. Israel was never the same again because of this. What happened? God filled the believers with the Holy Spirit and gave them the ability to speak in other languages (Acts 2:4). Like the Jewish pilgrims, we ask, “How can this be?”

I have spent a large part of this year learning Spanish. There were a couple of times when I was in tears because my old brain just couldn’t assimilate the nuances of this language. Trying to find the right conjugation of verbs from 14 different tenses is such a daunting task. However, there are no shortcuts to learning a different language. You need time, hard work and persistence. Learning to speak in a different language instantaneously is humanly impossible. So how were the apostles able to do it? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Around fifty days earlier, Jesus Christ promised his disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8). On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came in power: He gave them the ability to speak in different languages! For what purpose? To tell people who came from all over the world about Jesus.

I bless your name, Sovereign God, because you fulfill your promises. You promised to give me power through the Holy Spirit. Help me to appropriate that power today so that I can be an effective witness for Jesus.

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