This list of ethnic groups does not initially make for riveting reading, until you realise what God was doing. Previously His Word was seen as being primarily for the Jews in the Promised Land. Then it was also for Jewish minorities in, what are now, the countries in Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, Egypt and the North African coast. Thousands of these would believe in Jesus (Acts 2:41) and become gospel missionaries when they returned to their homes, telling both Jews and Gentiles about Jesus.
The gospel was breaking down old barriers. Jewish and Arabic people, Greeks and uncultured Gentiles, all heard the same message; God wanted to speak to them. However, instead of listening to Hebrew which everybody spoke at the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), they were amazed that they could hear the apostolic team proclaiming God's wonderful actions in the languages of their adopted countries. God was reaching out to them personally without a religious ritual.
What was the meaning of the multiple street preachers talking about what God had done? It is a good question, which Peter went on to answer (Acts 2:14-41). Alas there are always some who have no interest in what God wants to say. Strangely, religious people are often resistant to the idea of a personal relationship with God. They have got God 'in a box', confined to rites and ritual, and they do not want to submit to Him. For them, ridicule is often a more effective weapon than rioting. And so they wrongly accused the apostles of being drunken men.
The gospel is truly global. Jesus died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2); God so loved the world that He sent Jesus (John 3:16); and the apostles were commanded to go into all the world to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). In Christ there is no hierarchy of faith; everybody who trusts Jesus is equally included in His family (Galatians 3:28). There is nobody who God does not love. He wants everybody to hear the gospel and respond to it - irrespective of their background, culture or belief. How? He uses ordinary people like you; people who have repented and received Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to use them. Be bold. Speak about your relationship with Jesus today and look out for those who would like to know more. Show them CrossCheck (www.crosscheck.org.uk), answer their questions, and lead them to Jesus.
© Dr Paul Adams