“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Acts 2:5-11
As a child, I was extremely blessed to be able to go to a racially diverse Christian school in the heart of Denver. It was normal for me to rub shoulders with kids of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds, from African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, Koreans, Indians, and even a few from Russia! As a child I got to see The beauty of this familiar sentiment, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
Fast forward about 25 years, and I have seen the same reality played out in my adult life. Jesus loves the adults of the world, no matter what their ethnicity, race, or heritage. Why? Because Jesus loves people. Moses described in Genesis 12 how this was God’s design all along. God promised that ALL nations would be blessed through Abraham’s seed.
On the Day of Pentecost, it became a reality! God-fearing Jews from the surrounding areas were present. Looking at this map, you can see many of them came from very far away, a feat we take for granted in our modern travel world! On the day He sent His Spirit, God made sure that varied groups and ethnicities were present to fulfil the promise of Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise, and the reason these believers were gathered that day.
The Day of Pentecost was a holy and awesome occasion, but that same power, that same Spirit is alive in us today, with the same message for every nation, tribe, and tongue. God has created the diverse palate of people as only a Master Artist can do. Each is unique. Each is a treasure. Each is a reflection of His heart. Each is blinded and broken by sin. Each needs to know the precious truth that Jesus loves them, willingly gave Himself up for them, and desires to build relationship with them. God’s throne is a patchwork of praise, as described in Revelation 5:9. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
We should not fear this diversity, but seek to understand it and celebrate it as God the Father does.
Take a moment to listen to Mandisa’s “We All Bleed the Same” Let the lyrics wash over you. If we’re going to fight, let’s fight for each other, for freedom, and for love.
By Sheila Rennau