Come and hear the wonders of God
Christians across the world speak many languages today, but it wasn’t always like this. In the early days of the faith the gospel had yet to reach all corners of the globe. Then, on the first Pentecost after Jesus was crucified, came one of history’s most extraordinary moments.
As told in Acts chapter 2, followers of Jesus were gathered when suddenly there was the sound of the rush of a mighty wind and the appearance of tongues of fire resting on people’s heads. The people were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages.
Travellers to Jerusalem from many nations were astounded to hear the gospel – “the wonders of God”, as Luke puts it – proclaimed in their own languages.
“What does this mean?” asked the bewildered crowd who gathered on hearing the commotion. Peter rose with the other apostles and gave one of the great sermons of all time. He told them that what they were seeing was the fulfilment of prophecy about the last days and about salvation for all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus. And he went on to explain the gospel, how Jesus was put to death on the Cross as part of God’s salvation and how death could not hold him.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” he told them. “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
More than 3000 people became Christians that day, and had their lives transformed. They entered into the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Today in Melbourne these same wonders of God are declared in a multitude of languages in Anglican congregations. We have 46 congregations based on languages other than English. They include Indian and Tamil, Chinese and Pakistani, Arabic, Tongan, Samoan, and languages from Sudan.
These emerging faith communities are flourishing. Not only are they one of the main sources of growth in the Anglican Church in Melbourne, they have greatly enriched the whole Anglican Church with their energy, commitment and focus.
It is a source of wonder and excitement that the same Holy Spirit that descended on the worshippers in a room in Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago is still energising and blessing believers. The same Holy Spirit enabling them to tell people about the unchanging wonders of God.
Right now, the Thy Kingdom Come movement is inviting Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. It’s heartening to see what began only last year as a call to prayer in the Church of England has grown into an ecumenical, global prayer movement. How wonderful to know that despite our planet’s many cultures and languages, Jesus Christ’s message of love, hope and peace remains universal. Please consider what you can do to share this message. Come and hear the wonders of God.