Sunday, June 8, 2014

"tongues"--and "ears"

The Word for today:
Acts 10:34-48
mark this: Acts 10:44-46
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
We hear a lot about "speaking in tongues." The subject can get confusing, even divisive.
Tongues is a big deal--all biblical subjects are. The problem is that some people make a bigger deal out of tongues than the Bible does.
To defuse the whole issue of tongues, I'm going to dwell on the bigger miracle--"ears."
That's right--ears. "Ears" is the bigger biblical deal, by far, than tongues. Consider the Tower of Babel. There God caused the people to speak in different tongues, so no one could understand. Their tongues were "on" but their ears were "off."
We think of Pentecost as a positive miracle, while Babel is seen as a curse. What's the difference? Only at Pentecost were their ears "on," too:
When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" (Acts 2:6-8)
The Holy Spirit--then and now--causes the "deaf" to hear the Word of God. And when they hear, the miracle of spiritual rebirth occurs:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
The miracle is in the hearing.

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