then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? parthians, medes and elamites; residents of mesopotamia, judea and cappadocia, pontus and asia, phrygia and pamphylia, egypt and the parts of libya near cyrene; visitors from rome (both jews and converts to judaism); cretans and arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” — [acts 2:8-11]
a global church is born
with people gathered from so many nations to observe the feast of pentecost, God was filling believers with the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing unity to his church in a way that no one could have anticipated.
these devout worshippers, including people from everywhere, understood what these galileans were saying, although none of them spoke the language of galilee.
why doesn’t luke simply say, ‘people from all over the world’? why go in-depth naming each nation?
luke is taking us on a journey, showing how this new faith that existed only in and directly around israel was now truly global.
“parthians, medes and elamites” refers to people as far east as luke would have been familiar with, near modern day iran.
moving westward, “mesopotamia” is roughly concurrent with modern day iraq and syria.
“judea”, was, of course, where they were currently located.
“cappadocia, pontus and asia, phrygia and pamphylia” were all to the north and west of israel, in modern day turkey.
“egypt, libya, cyrene” take us south and further west into africa,
and finally, “rome’ brings us to the capital of the empire, a place where jews lived but were far outnumbered.
luke is showing us that this gospel, this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, was not bound to the jews or to the land of israel. Each of these worshippers would return to their corner of the earth, and in doing so would spread the beauty of a true faith, untethered to any culture or nation. this gospel, this redemption, this rebirth, was available to all of any and every race, nation, tribe and tongue (rev. 7:9).
pentecost was truly the birthday of the church, as God was revealing his power through a unified church that continues to work in us to this day.
~ jason soroski