May 31, 2009

The Undoing of Babel

Acts 2:1-12

“How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
Acts 2:8


Today is Pentecost Sunday. The crowds who heard the apostles’ preaching in many different languages wondered what was going on. They did not realize that what they were witnessing was an earth-shaking event.

Long ago, because people thought too highly of themselves at Babel, God decided to frustrate their ability to understand each other’s words (Genesis 11:1-9). Now, at Pentecost, it became possible to begin undoing that curse because Jesus had accomplished a world-embracing salvation. The disciples’ preaching in different languages did not bring confusion and division; it brought understanding and unity. In one day 3,000 new believers were baptized and added to the church.

The book of Acts describes the variety gathered into Christ’s kingdom. Salvation came to an Ethiopian eunuch, to a former persecutor of the church, and to a Roman officer (Acts 8-10). Lydia, a cloth merchant, was saved at a riverside, and a Philippian jailer and his family were saved after an earthquake (Acts 16).

It was not always smooth sailing after Pentecost. Often the going was rough—one person here and another there accepting the gospel while great numbers continued to scoff. But the tide was beginning to turn; a great hinge of history had swung open. The good news was going out to the ends of the earth!

Lord, at one time we were without Christ. How can we thank you for saving us in Christ? May our lives be consecrated to you and your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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