The Meaning

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." Acts 2:4

When the church was birthed at Pentecost, three different streams of thought collided, creating a powerful patch of white water of confusion, comedy and clarity. People who experienced the same thing responded very differently to it.

This should not surprise us. Two people involved in the same car wreck always have have different versions of exactly happened. The police take down their stories, and let the insurance companies sort it out. Life goes on.

When The Promise descended upon each of the 120 disciples, in the Upper Room, they experienced The Filling. Others who heard the sounds of the violent wind entering the room, and their native tongue coming out of the filled disciples, sought The Meaning of The Filling. Still others, hearing the same joyful sounds, responded with The Mocking of both. Their descendants are still with us.

These same three responses to Pentecost are repeated to this day. Some things never change. Two thousand years later, these three groups continue to keep the 'rivers of living water" foaming, frothing and fomenting with debate, disagreement, and disrespect.

People who need to hear the message of The Spirit's, "still, small voice" often have it drowned out by the cacophony of sounds spewing from strident saints, shouting at one another, "Die heretic!"

"When this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language...'we each hear them in our own language to which we were born...we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.' " Acts 2:6-11

The Filling was evident to all, then. The question remains with us, now.

"What does this mean?" v. 12

To the disciples who heard The Great Commission of Jesus, it sounded something like this. "You shall be My witnesses, to the Jews who are in Jerusalem, to the Jews who are in Judea, and to the Jews who are in the uttermost parts of the earth." They were products of their previous experiences. They had been raised to believe The Jews were The Chosen people, and the rest of the world was frozen out of any hope of receiving The Father's love.

Part of the meaning of what happened at Pentecost is clearer to us, than it was to those who were there. Some times the rear-view mirror is an aid in understanding the work of God. This was an explosion of God's love that would not be contained in Jerusalem, or in one racial group. The repercussions would be felt all around the world. When these devout Jews returned to their native lands, the message of God's love would go with them.

"But others were mocking." v. 13

People mocking and defaming what we hold most dear should not cause believers shock and dismay. God's greatest work was revealed to the people in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost. Some disrespected His work then, and their contemporary cousins still do it today. It is offensive.

Not taking offense at something that is offensive doesn't mean it is not offensive. It is. It just means you don't pull out your "Shock Face" and your version of the hip hop head bob, and run around screaming, "OH NO, HE DI' ENT." Stop it. It's silly.

Don't act like it doesn't matter. It does, but screaming obscenities at someone who doesn't agree with you will not change their mind. Remember, mocking someone until they are a mess of mush is not exonerated by closing your remarks with, "Bless their heart."

Note to self: The hallmark of Christian character is turning the other cheek. This doesn't mean hiding in the tall grass or being afraid of your own shadow. When Jesus came into your heart, your brains didn't fall out. His Spirit came in. More on that later. Peter was transformed by his experience with the Spirit. You were too. Act like it. But I digress.

No matter what team you play for, The Fillings, The Meanings, or The Mockings, remember God is the ultimate umpire. The Father means for His message of love, purchased by His Son, to be delivered by His children, to His creation. When people who are focused on The Filling forget The Meaning, they are closer to The Mocking crowd than they want to admit. Neither one of them delivers the message. What does that mean? They are full of themselves, not full of The Spirit.

Prayer is the air of Pentecost, and prayer gives meaning to life, like oxygen gives life to those who breathe. Unless you live in L.A., air is invisible. You breathe what you can't see, and life goes on. Prayerless people build prayerless churches that end up gasping through life, wondering why people won't follow their lead or join their band of breathless wonders.

Prayer is the language of the Spirit. He hears, and He responds to the prayers of people looking for meaning and purpose in life. Some people spend their lives seeking the perfect prayer language, as if the Spirit is waiting for them to discover an unknown tongue, before He will respond to the cries of their broken heart. The meaning of Pentecost reveals The Spirit already knows the language brokenhearted people know best. He responds to prayer spoken in any language. The meaning of Pentecost? Pick one!