August 27, 2022 - Acts 1-6
The crowd on the day of Pentecost: “Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs” (2:9-11). That’s just amazing! All sorts of people from all sorts of places. Very much like the U.S., today. Just thinking through this, the U.S. is made up of immigrants. Japan is almost wholly made up of people of direct Japanese descent. China is over 90% Han. Korea is Koreans. North Africa is Arab, though different Arab groups. Iran is Persian, with some Kurds thrown in in the north. And on and on. But the U.S. . . . well, it’s very much like the day of Pentecost and becoming more so by the day. What opportunities for the gospel! “The promise is for us, but it is also for these and many others who are far off, all whom the Lord will call” (2:39).
Another thought: 4:28 – “And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness.” Peter and John had been arrested, required to answer questions, and had now been released. But Peter had already boldly proclaimed the gospel on the day of Pentecost. And before the rulers, elders, and scribes, along with the high priest and other priests, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and he ‘splained to them that the Jesus through whom healing had come to the lame beggar was “the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone” (4:11). Wow, sounds pretty bold already. Just sayin’. Well, they did become even bolder! Their response to the Sanhedrin and the high priest? “We must obey God rather than men” (5:29).
Waft, waft, ye winds, His story,
And you, ye waters, roll,
Till, like a sea of glory,
It spreads from pole to pole:
Till o'er our ransomed nature
The Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator,
In bliss returns to reign. -- Reginald Heber (1819)