And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”  But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Acts 2:12–13)
One life lesson from the first Christian Pentecost: Knowing Scripture helps us make sense out of life.
Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish festival. Jews from all over the world would come to Jerusalem to make a first fruit offering to God. That’s why people who spoke a myriad of languages were gathered in one place, let alone one city.
When the Holy Spirit miraculously descended up on the apostles, the apostles started speaking in languages of those present, languages the apostles did not themselves understand. Now wonder there was confusion; no wonder there were claims that the apostles had engaged in a little morning drinking.
Note carefully: One of the people who actually understood what was going on was the Apostle Peter. It was Peter who proclaimed that this event was the fulfillment of a prophecy from the Old Testament book of Joel.
For a moment, imagine that no one gathered knew the Scriptures. How could anyone understand what was happening in the midst of the chaos? Instead, because the Scriptures were known, the experience became a powerful moment for proclaiming Christ.
This life lesson is not lost on us. Without clear knowledge of Scripture, we are at risk for experiencing confusion much like most of those who witnessed the powerful work of the Spirit about Pentecost. The better we know the Bible, the better we can understand what is happening in the world around us.
For example, when we witness a baptism, we know from Scripture God is forgiving sins and granting the Holy Spirit. Or how God’s Word helps us understand why we have conflict in one relationship but have peace in another relationship. These are only a couple of examples of how knowing Scripture helps us make sense out of life.
(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)