Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
For those who await "the latter rain," the lesson of Pentecost is sharply focused. The "early rain" wasn't a miracle of elocution that wrought that great work in the hearts of thousands. Peter didn't show off as a brilliant man. The miracle of "tongues" was secondary to something greater than itself. If the apostles had given lectures on Roman history miraculously in "tongues," nobody would have been baptized.
What was greater than the communication miracle was the depth of the message itself. What got through to thousands of human hearts that day was a truth they had never dreamed of: they were guilty of the body and blood of the divine Son of God! They had murdered the Messiah! They couldn't blame the Romans and the chief priests. Now they had discovered their corporate guilt. Peter said, "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). "Men of Israel, ... you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life" (3:12-15).
Later, in chapter 10 Peter learned that the Gentiles shared the same corporate guilt. Paul taught that "all the world ... [is] guilty before God" (Rom 3:19). "All sinned" (3:23), at one time, at Calvary. In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul saw that when Christ was murdered, "all died" with Him, overwhelmed with an ultimate guilt. Before His death Christ had promised that the Holy Spirit would "convict the world of sin" (John 16:8), but no one dreamed that the conviction would be so annihilating to human pride.
The message of Pentecost brought the world face to face with its moment of truth. But side by side with the devastating conviction of sin came the conviction of Christ's forgiveness. Here at the very beginning of the Christian church was "high-fidelity" Christian experience! Human hearts were melted, cleansed, reconciled at last to God.
There is a lesson for us!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 12, 2000.
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