The day of Pentecost that is recorded in the book of Acts is an inspiring story that is filled with symbols and conveys their silent message. The God of Israel is frequently represented by fire—remember the burning bush. The tongues of fire speak of God’s presence. The rush of the violent wind demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit. The word for spirit in Greek is the same as that used for wind. In Hebrew the word is used for breath. The ability to speak in different languages underscores the truth that the Spirit will give the disciples of Jesus the ability to communicate the good news.
Most of us will not have a supernatural experience of the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are lacking. The Day of Pentecost assures us that the Holy Spirit is a part of all of our lives. We courageously live each day knowing that God’s presence and power is with us and that the Holy Spirit is anointing our words and actions and is using them to communicate the good news.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”