There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were blown away. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?”
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs.
“They’re speaking in our mother tongues, describing God’s mighty works!”
That day about three thousand took him [Peter} at his word, and were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
(Acts 2: 1-11, 41-42) The Message Bible
I’ve had experience at retreats where several hundred people were invited to pray out loud simultaneously with each other. It’s quite a sound; praise and petition rising up with many voices as a single unit.
In my research on the way people prayed during the time mentioned in verse 42, that’s what would have happened. The difference? Many languages at the same time instead of mostly one. Quite a sound.
Trying to imagine a time when people walked, maybe hundreds of miles, to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for a feast, in this case, the Feast of Pentecost is hard for us. Also, in our time and culture, it is hard to imagine when all teaching/preaching was oral, with no teaching tools, sound augmentation, or note taking means to aid remembering. Repetition of the message, careful listening, and living examples would be essentials that would enable the pilgrims to take the message and their experiences back to their own country, And that was what took place during the time they were there.
There would be much to teach these people and I am convinced the one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them would be top priority. And that is how to pray. Luke 11:1 records one of the disciples saying, “Lord teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” In Matthew 6:5-9, Jesus teaches how not to pray. What Jesus taught in both Luke and Matthew was what we call the, “Lord’s Prayer.” I can imagine how revolutionary it would be for those pilgrims to be taught to pray to God as Father.
This week take some time to imagine what it would be like to be one of the crowd who heard for the first time what Peter and the other apostles were teaching about life in Jesus Christ and how Jesus taught us to pray.
What really tugs my heart; we will spend eternity worshiping with them in the presence of the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!!