Summary: A look at Pentecost through the motif of Jeff Foxworthy
YOU MIGHT BE A REDNECK IF... 5/14/2005
Jeff Foxworthy has made the word "redneck" a very popular one in today’s culture with his humor statements which begin "You might be a redneck if..." ( YOUTH GROUP GIVE THEIR ONE LINERS) Other good ones are : ( Like) "You might be a redneck if you come back from the dump with more than you took.......if your TV gets 512 channels, but you go outside to use the bathroom......your son is named for your favorite pro wrestler....you begin most sentences with ’You ain’t gonna believe this’....or you think fax is the opposite of fiction." (your fathers cell number has nothing to do with a phone.)
The word "redneck" is one that has become a part of popular slang, these days, referring to somebody who is rather unsophisticated, from the country, and often from the South. Did you know where the name came from? It originated because these country folks, who usually worked outside, often got sun burned on the back of their necks, thus causing them to have a red neck.
I don’t know why it is still acceptable in our politically correct society to make fun of rednecks. Perhaps because rednecks make fun of themselves. The folks who seem most to enjoy redneck humor are rednecks.
Now why in the world would I be talking about rednecks on Pentecost?
It is because Galilee was the cultural equivalent of redneck country in the time of Jesus. You could always tell a Galilean by his or her accent. Galileans, scholars tell us, had the habit of swallowing syllables when speaking. They might say things like runnin’ instead of running, or huntin’ instead of hunting. They might say "far" when they meant fire: causing children to think of "The wise men” dressed as firefighters, because scripture says ‘they came from a far.’
As Judean rednecks, Galileans were looked down upon as being provincial, backward and even a little slow. So, When Peter stood in the courtyard while Jesus was being questioned by Pilate, a servant girl knew Peter had been one of Jesus’ disciples. Why? Because of his accent - his Galilean accent gave him away.
So now, knowing what we do about the Galilean accent, put yourself in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Here are these Galileans, these rednecks, and suddenly they are speaking eloquently in foreign languages! They are speaking in the equivalent of German and French and Arabic and Japanese and they are speaking so fluently, that people hearing them - people who came from all over the known world- understood them perfectly in their own tongue.
If you can imagine a group of rednecks with limited or no education suddenly speaking exotic languages, then you can imagine the scene in Jerusalem that first Pentecost. No wonder the crowds who heard them speaking were stunned! No wonder this event had such an impact! No wonder when Peter stood up to preach that thousands were converted! This was dramatic, this was extraordinary, this was unbelievable. These country bumpkins suddenly became remarkable communicators - articulate ambassadors- sophisticated sentinels. How? Because they were filled with the Holy Spirit!
Just what does that mean? ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’? It means they were no longer ‘full of themselves’, they were ‘full of God’. No longer did they just live for themselves and their wants and needs, but they began to live for Christ, and they were so excited and so changed that they wanted everyone to share the experience. – Like when we were all excited about winning the regional football championship, there was a lot of team and school spirit, and we wanted everyone to experience it. - There was a change in the way we felt about our school and our team; an enthusiasm that we wanted to share.
When we are filled with the HS, we have that same enthusiasm for the things of God.
You see Pentecost is from God. The power of the Almighty in the form of the Holy Spirit was at work there changing people’s lives then, and it still does today. When the Spirit moves, our lives are changed and commitments are made.
When we let the Spirit in we begin to realize: The Christian life is not just about salvation, but transformation. THE message of “You need to be born again.” is good as far as it goes. It is a necessary first step. But if our faith only consists of a single event where we repented of our sin and came to Christ, then it is an incomplete faith. What if a baby was born and we all celebrated the new life, but the baby never took in nourishment, was never nurtured, never grew, never developed. As wonderful as its birth was, it would not survive. Pediatricians call it “failure to thrive.”