Acts 2:1-13 Wrestling with the Spirit

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Wrestling with the Spirit

The Holy Spirit came with power at Pentecost.  The testimony of Scripture is clear.  The disciples had tongues of fire on their heads and a sound of rushing wind surrounded them.  Empowered by the Spirit they spoke in different languages and each person heard them in their own dialect.  That much is clear.  So what do we do about this. Is this the new norm?  Some people would have us believe that it is.  Is it the sign that God was bringing a new reality and the need for that sign is past.  Some people believe that based on 1 Corinthians 13 we should assert that all ‘sign’ gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased.  Speaking in tongues today is not often in an intelligible language that the speaker doesn’t know but the listeners do.

I am sick.  I have thrown up today, yesterday and the day before. I haven’t prayed about it because I consider it my lot right now.  I feel weaker, but that is not why I don’t pray.  I think that I am just skeptical about the Holy Spirit working in power for me.  I want him to work in power through me for the faith of others, but I have accepted a blindness to the power of God to heal.  Frankly, I don’t know how it works.  I don’t know why he chooses whomever he does choose.  So I wrestle.  How do I address the Holy Spirit.  Which approach is correct.  If you will humour me, I will pray that the Spirit will heal my stomach today.  Let’s see what happens.


If you heal my stomach and I stop throwing up, you are God.  If I don’t feel any better later today – you are God.  I ask you, Father, to send the Holy Spirit to heal my insides.  Show me the path forward, through prayer or medicine, and I will take it.  In either case, I submit to your will.


  1. How is the presence of the Holy Spirit described?
  2. What does the Holy Spirit do?
  3. Does this paint a pattern for every age?
  4. How do you relate to the Holy Spirit?
  5. How do you respond to today’s “speaking in tongues”?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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