By Bruce Green
Teaching Minister at 10th Street Church of Christ in Opelika
Wouldn’t you love to know exactly what the apostles were saying that morning of Pentecost when they were “declaring the wonders of God” (Acts 2:11)? Were they speaking of the extraordinary reversal of events God had brought about by raising Jesus from the dead? Was their topic the recently witnessed ascension of Christ? Did they talk of His epoch-shattering return one day as the angels had promised?
Whatever it was, it was personalized as those visiting Jerusalem for the feast heard about the wonders in their own language (see v. 7-11). The pilgrims were “bewildered” and “utterly amazed” that these formally uneducated Galileans were somehow able to speak in their languages (v. 4,6-7). If you’re keeping score, there was awe at both what the apostles were saying and how they were able to communicate it.
Whatever it was they said, it came as a result of the Spirit being poured out (v. 17-18, 33). Luke tells us it was due to the Spirit’s enabling that they spoke (v. 4). And the Spirit led them to speak about the wonders of God. I love that the Spirit did not lead these men to speak about Himself, but God. And like people talking about someone they love, the Spirit spared no praise, no language and cared not that some there would ridicule what was going on (v. 13). (As amazing as it is, there are always those who will mock the miraculous).
The wonders of God the apostles spoke of served as a prelude to the message Peter gave concerning Jesus. It was a message unlike anything ever spoken before. For the first time ever, God’s redemptive work in Jesus through the cross and resurrection was presented, and people were told what to do in response to it. I suppose you could think of it as the premiere of the gospel being proclaimed. But instead of movie stars, A-listers, paparazzi, red carpets and limousines, there were Jewish worshipers, a few Galileans, the outpouring of the Spirit and the proclamation of the risen Savior and Lord of transcendent glory. The first is the epitome of hype at its worst, while the latter is hope at it best.
And what was the response to this grand unveiling of God’s work through Jesus? Thousands were “cut to the heart” (v. 37). That’s what happens when your eyes are opened to the wonder of God—it hits you deep inside—all the way to your core. But the good news is that in addition to being convicting, it is also converting. They were told to turn from their corrupt ways (“repent”) and be immersed in the name of Jesus so their sins would be forgiven, and they would receive the Holy Spirit (v. 38). That day, three thousand embraced God’s wonder in Jesus.
Luke goes on to tell us that these disciples “devoted” themselves to their newfound faith (v. 42).
They were in an environment of awe due to “the many wonders and signs” that the apostles were performing (v. 43). Their gladness radiated and rippled through their sharing and caring of each other. They experienced favor with everyone and each day more people became followers of Christ. And they praised God. How could they not?
There was wonder everywhere they looked!
You can find more of Bruce’s writings at his website: atasteofgracewithbrucegreen.com.