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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tongues Of Fire

Tongues Of Fire

"And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them." Acts 2:3

DIVIDED:
"Diamerízo", to partition thoroughly (literally in distribution, figuratively in dissension); from "diá" (through) and "merízo" (to part, to apportion, bestow, share) and "méros" (a division or share) and "meiromai" (to get as a section or allotment)

TONGUES:
"Glossa", the tongue; by implication, a language (specially, one naturally unacquired);

FIRE:
"Pyr", "fire" (specially, lightning)

APPEARED:
"Optánomai", to gaze with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable;

RESTED:
"Kathízo", to seat down, i.e. set (figuratively, appoint); intransitively, to sit (down); figuratively, to settle (hover, dwell); from "kathézomai" (to sit down) and "katá" (down, in place or time) and "hedraîos" (sedentary, immovable)

The work of witnessing for Jesus could be described using characteristics of wind and fire. The apostles would be carried and guided by a overwhelming, powerful, unseen force. Their words would ignite controversy and passion, for and against Christ.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? To what purpose were the physical signs, the loud, frightening sounds of wind and the flickering visions of fire? Would not the sudden ability to speak in other languages be sufficient evidence of the indwelling Spirit of God?

FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

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

FILLED:
"Pletho", to "fill" (literally or figuratively (imbue, influence, supply); specially, to fulfil (time);

This word is related to that used in verse two ("Pleróo"), but is more general in meaning, from physically filling to the spiritual filling of the Holy Spirit.

UTTERANCE:
"Apophthengomai", to enunciate plainly, declare; from "apo" (off or away) and "phthengomai" (to utter a clear sound, to proclaim) and "phengos" (brilliancy) and "phos" (luminousness) and "phemi" (to show or make known ones thoughts) and "phaino" (to lighten or shine)

The Holy Spirit gave incredible, surprising, powerful understanding and clarity in speech. The words were overwhelmingly effective in making the Spirits brightness known to everyone who heard, no matter the language.

This world-shaking shining forth of the Holy Spirits speaking through people happened to a group of about 120 Christians, including the eleven disciples chosen by Jesus, their families and friends, as well as the family of Jesus. (Acts 1:12-15)

This first church of Christians were gathering together often to pray. Peter was seen as their leader. Jesus had earlier specially commissioned Peter to be a shepherd to His Flock:

"Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs. He said to him a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Tend my sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Do you love me? and he said to him, Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17 (ESV)

With Peters guidance the Church had appointed an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, and the Church gathered often to pray, worship, exhort, and celebrate. It was during the celebration of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit filled them all, enabling them to speak clearly and brilliantly in every language.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Jesus commanded only one thing of Peter, the first pastor appointed by Jesus: “Feed my sheep.” What duties of our pastor would fall under this category of “sheep-feeding”? More importantly, what duties might we expect of our pastor despite it NOT being “sheep-feeding”?

Image courtesy of Stefan Glase