Extraordinary Power in Ordinary People
The ones who heard the wonders of God, were devout Jews from all over the world, who had a rich heritage of worshiping a monotheistic God, who were eagerly waiting for the Messiah and who had a good understanding of the books of Moses, David and the prophets. During the feasts, the population of Jerusalem increased four to five times over, because of these visiting non-resident Jewish pilgrims. The numbers would have amounted possibly to about 200000.
On the day of Pentecost, God revealed Himself through these supernatural events, to this per-existing network of God-fearing Jews. The 15 language groups mentioned (Acts 2:9,10) is more likely a representation of some language groups from ‘every nation under heaven.’ (Acts 2:5). These international representatives (also known as Hellenist with a Jewish heritage) were therefore aware of the culture and language of the host countries. The fact that they made their way to Jerusalem across land and sea, also shows that they were either affluent or well connected to obtain sponsorship for the long and expensive journey.
In contrast to these affluent, influential, international nonresident Jews, were these local Galileans (Acts 2 :7) many of whom were fishermen. Judean Jews looked down on them and viewed themselves to be more devout and purer. The Judeans would have echoed Nathanael’s sentiments about Galileans “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1: 46a). What was amazing, and unbelievable, was to hear this seemingly unassuming community of 120 Galileans, declaring the wonders of God in multiple world languages.
Looking at this event in hindsight, from the perspective of world missions, we can observe how God aligned everything to prepare for exponential growth. While it is amazing to see how God’s grace was at work in the appointment of ordinary Galilean fishermen to spread the Good News of Christ, we can also observe God’s wisdom in choosing devout international Jewish individuals to spread, support and sustain a worldwide movement. May we remember, God’s extraordinary power in and through the ordinary, can breakthrough all barriers, to extend His kingdom.