by Rev. Jeffrey Sippy
An old adage says polite gentlemen do not speak poorly of another man’s bride. Can you imagine? Can you imagine someone speaking poorly about your spouse?
Yet the Bride of Christ is often maligned and insulted by reckless and thoughtless words—sometimes by its own members. Criticism, complaint, and gossip are the manifestations of those who are divided in sin.
The miracle of Pentecost is unity and harmony. On the day of Pentecost, God gathered His people from fear and hiding and poured out upon them His Holy Spirit. God provided for the Gospel to be heard and understood in each person’s native language—if not also in each person’s native culture, custom, and tradition. Otherwise broken and divided in sin, the Holy Spirit unites His people in faith and forgiveness. In our Baptism, the Holy Spirit bespeaks us holy and adorns us in Christ’s robes of righteousness. Who then, as Paul notes in Rom 8:33, will bring any charge (or word) against God’s elect?
Read Gen. 12:1–9. Why did God choose to confuse the language of His people and to scatter them?
Pentecost is the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover (Lev. 23:15–16). Read Acts 1:4–5 and John 16:5–7. What did Jesus promise His disciples?
Read Acts 1:8. How would the Holy Spirit manifest Himself in the lives of Jesus’ disciples, and with what words does Jesus describe the disciples’ new role and identity?
In our Baptism we too are filled with the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 2:38. How do you understand your unique calling as an ambassador and witness of Christ? See also 2 Tim. 2:7–8 and Acts 4:32–35.
Read Acts 2:1–4. What filled the house? Who filled each of the disciples?
The disciples were all together. This has profound implications for the Church. Read Acts 2:44 and 1 Cor. 12:12–27. How do these words of God describe the Church? What does God command in Eph. 4:3?
Divided at the Tower of Babel, God would unite His people in the Truth of the Gospel proclaimed for all people.
Read Acts 2:5–13. The Church is made up of different people who speak different languages and who have different customs and ways. Miraculously, God provides for each to hear the Gospel in his or her own language. Look at verses 6 and 8. How would you answer the question, How is it that each one hears in his own native language?
Sin manifests itself in division and separation. The Spirit of God manifests Himself in unity and harmony. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are united in Christ and empowered to be His ambassadors and witnesses. We boldly proclaim Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, speak well of each other, and explain everything in the kindest of fashions.