5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
In Genesis 11 we read the tragic story of tower of Babel. The people have become arrogant and decide to build a tower that reaches to the heavens to impress everyone (makes me think of companies in modern cities erecting higher and higher skyscrapers so that they look more and more impressive). In a sense they are trying to take God’s place. Seeing this, God scatters them all over the earth, confusing their language so they all speak different tongues. This is another ‘Fall’ story like that of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit with the resultant curse that follows. Just as Jesus over turns that curse, here the Holy Spirit over turns Babel’s, the world united in hearing the disciples speak of Jesus.
Father, may we too, through your Spirit today, be inspired to talk about Jesus to those around us in their language, so that they too might come to know him!