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"Bible On Trial: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt"
“A Word for this Week” - Pastor Bill Mugnolo
Week of May 21-27, 2018: “Confusion … Undone” … Acts 2:1-41 (Pentecost)
There was a loud rushing wind, the tongues of fire that came to rest on the disciples, their speaking in “other tongues”, and the crowds hearing themeach in their own native language. Then, there were Peter’s bold words which led to 3,000 who believed and were baptizedall in a single day. Yes, on the Day of Pentecost it seems like there was a lot of confusion going on. But I would say that what really happened was confusion … undone.
On a temporary basis, the miracle of the tongues was an undoing of the confusion of languages that took place at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). But this miracle served an even greater purpose of leading the crowds to hear what Peter had to say on behalf of his fellow disciples. Peter spoke primarily about Jesus of Nazareth and how He went about doing signs, wonders, and miracles. But, as Peter continued, Jesus’ own people, the Jews, rejected Him and sent Him, through their Roman rulers, to death upon a cross. But Jesus would be raised from the dead and would be proclaimed by God as “Lord and Christ”.
What Peter said had its impact as thousands were “cut to their hearts” by his words of power. On that day, as moved by the Holy Spirit, 3,000 people repented of their sins, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and were baptized. The Holy Christian Church, which continues its mission to this very day, was born. Yes, the confusion of the languages that had been in place since Babel had been temporarily undone. But for those 3,000 an even greater confusion had been undone permanentlythe ultimate confusion caused by sin and death.
There is certainly much confusion within the Holy Christian Church as to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and what they mean for us today. But as to the Spirit’s greatest work, begun at Pentecost, there is no doubt. Martin Luther expressed it in these words from his Small Catechism:
“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ,
my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel,
enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the
same way He calls, gathers, and enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian
Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this
Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all
believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal
life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.”
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