Tongues of Fire
The Jewish people were commanded by God to observe several
feasts during the year. They celebrated the Feast of the Passover to remember
the time in Egypt they had been “passed over” when the firstborn of the
Egyptians had died in the plagues.
Fifty days after Passover, they celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. It was also
called the Feast of Weeks, which came on a Sunday and lasted one day. It came at
the end of the wheat harvest.
The events in this story took place on the Pentecost following the death and
resurrection of Jesus. Many devout Jews were in the city of Jerusalem to
celebrate the feast. They had come from many districts and spoke many languages.
After the death of Judas, Matthias had been chosen to be an apostle, and he was
added to the eleven apostles. Suddenly a loud sound filled the house where they
were meeting. It sounded like a great wind blowing.
The something that looked like tongues of fire appeared, then separated and sat
on each of them.
They began speaking in other languages. The Holy Spirit was causing them to talk
to the others in languages which they had never learned! Can you imagine being
able to carry on a conversation with a foreigner in his own native tongue, even
though you had never spoken that language?
The wind sound was so loud that people ran to see what was happening, and when
they heard the men speaking in their own languages, they were amazed. “Aren’t
these men all Galileans, or men from Galilee? How is it that each os us hears in
our own native language?”
Some thought the men were drunk, but that was unlikely because it was only 9:00
in the morning. Most people who get drunk, don’t get drunk that early in the
Peter stood up with the eleven apostles and began to preach to the crowd. He
said that the prophet Joel had spoken of these events many years before.
He told them how that Jesus of Nazareth had come, and how that God had shown his
approval of Jesus by the signs and miracles that he had performed while he was
Peter accused the crowd of handing Jesus over to wicked men to be crucified. We
remember that Pilate wanted to free Jesus, b ut the Jews had cried out, “Crucify
him!” The Romans nailed him to the cross and killed him, but God raised him from
the dead, and he was seen alive by many people.
When the people in the crowd realized what they had done, they were so sorry,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter told them to repent; to be truly sorry for what they had done, and for
every one of them to be baptized in the name of Jesus so that their sins might
be forgiven. He said if they would do that, they would receive God’s gift to
them, the Holy Spirit, to live within them.
Those who heard his words and accepted them, were baptized, and about 3,000
people did just that.
This wonderful day was the beginning of the Church.
Borrowed from the http://www.gardenofpraise.com