Acts 2:4 says: They . . . began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out. This seems to be a rather strange phenomenon, doesn’t it, but what does it mean? This is the question asked by the people on the street that day in Jerusalem who witnessed the hubbub. So, what does it mean and how does it apply to life in the 21st century?
Jesus faced the original cancel culture, a problematic person who needed to be silenced and even eliminated. In Acts 9 Saul broadened the cancel-culture to include anyone – man or woman – who happened to follow Christ. There have been and will always be those who want to cancel His followers. It has now become fashionable in this nation to criticize, scorn or shut-out those who name the name of Jesus Christ. Do not be shocked if America, in the not too distant future, becomes a killing field with believers as the prize. Are you ready?
For longer than 500 years the Jews had raised an impenetrable barrier between themselves and their northern neighbors, the Samaritans. They despised each other, did not speak to each other and had nothing to do with each other. Jesus, however, did not hold such hostilities in His heart. He loved and embraced the Samaritans. He even included the Samaritans in His last will and testament laid down in verse 8 of Acts 1: Don’t forget the Samaritans! When forced by tribulation to preach the gospel to the Samaritans, the walls of separation came crashing down. There were neither protests nor riots and no vigilantes from SLM (Samaritan Lives Matter) to make it happen. Perhaps America could use the model set forth in Acts 8. Perhaps we all could.
The church is often at odds with its surrounding culture. That was true in the first century, and it is true in America today. As in the first century, the church’s response to the demands of our secular culture to cease and desist is to mirror the response of the first believers when the movement began nearly two thousand years ago.