Not What We Expected

As far as insights from Bible reading go, yesterday was a great day.

There are so many times I have preached that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah, just not how the people of that time expected them to be fulfilled.  Revelation gets to the heart of that idea in Chapter 5 when John hears about the lion of the tribe of Judah, a Jewish reference to the Messiah that is full of power and regal majesty, and then he sees a lamb standing as though it had been slain, a decidedly un-powerful image.

Pentecost-2Yet I never really saw a prophecy concerning Pentecost in the same way.  In Zephaniah 3:9 the text says

For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.

This is God speaking of the restoration and the redemption of all the nations.  And here is the insight.  God did this, but not by giving everyone the same language.  God did it by using all the different languages of the world on Pentecost, but using those languages to deliver the same message.  The prophecy was fulfilled, and is still being fulfilled, but not in the way that would have been expected.

I love this, too, because it shows that God can and does use all different means to communicate the one pure speech message of the Gospel–a message that is full of love and grace and redemption.  Thank God there are surprises in how prophecy is fulfilled!

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