The Olympics and Pentecost

Olympic season is upon us! It’s that special time every four years where we pretend to understand how they judge figure skating and wonder who managed to combine skiing and shooting into a sport. I’m still hoping for my big break into curling!

One of the things that draws me to the Olympics is the pageantry of the opening ceremonies. I love watching the athletes come in as each country is announced. Invariably there is a country I’ve never even heard of that sends a tiny delegation. People from every corner of the earth are there. The varying languages, cultures, dress, and ideas all collide for one big event.

languages

One of my favorite events in church history is the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost. It was a day kind of like the Olympic opening ceremonies. Jerusalem was packed and electrified with the energy of one of the special feast days. It was filled with “devout men from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). You could hear chatter in all sorts of different languages as you walked down the streets.

stood the source of its power.One of the great miracles of this particular Pentecost was that while the apostles preached, “each one was hearing them speak in his own language.” (2:6) “And they were amazed and astonished” because they knew that Peter was neither a translator nor a ventriloquist! God was working an incredible sign to make sure everyone both heard the gospel message and under
Between the languages, the mighty rushing wind (2:2), and the tongues as of fire (2:3), God pulled out all the stops to highlight this as a special day—when something bigger than any one nation or language could hold, the day when God gave birth to his church. When you think about it that way, doesn’t it make you appreciate what God had in mind for his family, the body of Christ?