by Stephen Rhoda

“But others said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’” — Acts 2:13

Here is the reaction of some of those who witnessed the effect of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

First of all, notice the effect itself.  The predominant effect of the coming of the Holy Spirit was the preaching of the Gospel, not shouting and jumping, not rolling on the floor, but preaching.  And it wasn’t a matter of speaking in unintelligible tongues and utterances but in the known languages of those gathered “from every nation under heaven.”  Thus we see here the connection between Word and Spirit, and we come to understand more clearly that Christianity is first a faith of content and teaching, rather than just raw spiritual experience.

But secondly, consider this particular reaction.  When the Apostles stood up and began to preach, it was perceived as strange and was diagnosed as drunkenness.  The irony is that the Gospel is actually the exact opposite of drunkenness.  Drunkenness is the search for relief from pain, causing more pain; the Gospel is true balm for human suffering.  Drunkenness is the effort to cover up guilt, causing more guilt; the Gospel proclaims forgiveness and affords peace in Christ.  Drunkenness is sin leading to more sin; the Gospel is the call and power of repentance.  Therefore, let us not be surprised by the world’s perception of the Gospel and its preaching.  We may be mocked and written off as drunken fools, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, we must preach on, with the conviction that the Gospel is exactly the message that this world needs to hear.