Unstoppable! 'Undoing Babel' — Acts 2:5-11

Monday, January 22, 2024

At [Pentecost] there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise [of the Spirit coming to the believers], everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. "How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are — Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!"

— Acts 2:5-11 NLT

Key Thought

When early people all spoke the same language and endeavored to build a great city and tower in Babel, God confused language and scattered the people across the earth (Genesis 11:1-9). The Lord did this because of human arrogance — the people's prideful delusion that they could be like God. On this world-changing Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection, the Holy Spirit came and undid the effects of Babel, temporarily. The Spirit enabled the believers to speak so people from all over the world could understand the message about Jesus in their own languages. The disciples proclaimed Jesus. The Holy Spirit ensured that all people could understand and gave believers the power to speak languages they didn't know. Three thousand responded by believing in Jesus as Messiah and Lord, submitting to baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-41). God made all these people part of his new world-wide family (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) in anticipation of the day Babel would be permanently reversed by bringing peoples back together before God's throne (Revelation 7:9-11).

Today's Prayer

O God, I pray for us, your children, and your church. May the Spirit that moved at Pentecost also overcome the barriers of language, age, gender, political affiliation, and anything else that divides us now. Help us tear down these barriers that still sometimes separate us. Use us to be an example to the world of what a people rooted in your love can be. O Father, make us one through the power of your Spirit. Make us one just as our Lord Jesus prayed in the 17th chapter of John.^ Make us one, so the world will know that you sent Jesus to save us all and break down the barriers that separate us from one another. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

^ John 17:20-22

Related Scripture Readings

  • Galatians 3:26-29
  • Revelation 7:9-11

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 2:5-11 NLT — At [Pentecost] there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise [of the Spirit coming to the believers], everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were completely amazed. "How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are — Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!"

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.