The doctor entered the examination room where Stan was seated. While flipping through some charts the doctor began to rattle off the results of several tests and the diagnosis that they indicated. Paul didn’t understand a word of the doctor’s jargon. After several minutes Stan spoke up and interrupted the doctor. “Would you please tell me what you just said in plain English?” Stan asked. The doctor paused, grinned sheepishly and repeated what he had said using more common terms.
The ability to communicate is a precious gift. Sometimes we misuse God’s gift and use words that exclude people rather than include them. The Lord wanted to emphasize that everyone is included in hearing the gospel proclaimed. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost was the ability to speak in the language of others. As a result uneducated Galilean fishermen were speaking languages that could be clearly understood by people from around the known world.
As disciples of Jesus we have been given the ministry of proclaiming the good news of new life through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It is an important ministry and message. We don’t, however, want to make the same mistake that Stan’s doctor made and speak in Christian jargon using words of which only we know the meaning. Wrapping our words in love, we speak in a way that the Spirit can use in order to create faith in the lives of the people around us.
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.