Summary: How do we defend our faith in Christ?
Full of New Wine
We have seen in our study of Pentecost so far, one of the major purposes for the gift of tongues was to bypass the language barrier so that everyone at the feast in Jerusalem could understand the wonderful works of God in their own language. In other words, God wanted to make the message clear to all. We follow the will of God in this when we translate the Scriptures and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the languages of the nations. This clarity does not need to be confused with man’s wisdom as though we could present the gospel more effectively using human means. Our purpose is to clarify rather than to find ways to make people believe. This is God’s job.
Of course, when the gospel is clearly proclaimed, opposition will arise. In this case, opposition arose from within the Jewish community. Today, people who are in the church are sometimes the biggest opponents of the clear exposition of the truth. As soon as the truth is proclaimed, it makes people accountable to God who is judge. Somehow, many think that salvation comes from ignorance of the will of God. So long as they can make the defense that they did not know or that the message was unclear, that they cannot be held accountable before God at the judgment.
In this passage, the mockers of the good news made the claim that the Apostles were drunk. They were trying to offer an alternate explanation to what was happening. It wasn’t the work of God, it was just a bunch of inebriated Galileans. Galileans were seen as uneducated rabble. So these mockers were trying to completely discredit the message by destroying the credibility of the messengers.
What they were really doing, of course, was to discredit the Holy Spirit who had given the utterance. They were mocking God, just as they mocked God the Son. This is very close to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit if it is not downrightly so. When the works of God such as Jesus’ healing were attributed to the devil or when the words of God are equated to drunken babble, this places these mockers in extreme jeopardy.
The Devil is always ready to offer an alternate explanation to the work of God. And the people who assist Him shall suffer the same fate before the judgment seat of Christ as Satan, unless God grant them repentance. Paul was one of these miracles who was radically saved by God’s grace. He tells us that he had persecuted God’s church through ignorance, and God had mercy on him. As we see in Paul’s case, he was saved from his ignorance by the knowledge of the truth. He was not saved by ignorance or to ignorance.
We must not blindly accept the world’s labels, but need to vigorously defend the work of God. We have to explain the hope that is in us, with fear and trembling of course. Christians are accused of being emotional and leaving their minds at the door. All too often, we have fallen into the world’s stereotype of the Christian. The truth is that it is the world and Satan who wish that people leave their brains at the door and act on emotion. In this passage they mocked. They did not offer any rational explanation why this phenomena was not the work of God. Rather, they tried to squelch it by saying that the message was not to believe because the 120 were drunk. Leave your brain at the door; shut your mind from the message they are bringing.