Imagine trying to direct a film adaptation of Acts chapter 2. How do you do it? What do the flames look like? Does everybody see them, or just the believers? What about the wind? When they talk, what does it sound like?
This effect seems to be presented in a way that is familiar to science fiction readers today, used both in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the television show, “Doctor Who.” In both cases, characters do not speak the same languages but everybody understands each other thanks to certain technologies.
The result is that the disciples and believers in Acts 2 were speaking intelligently and understanding everything they were saying. At the same time, people hearing them understood everything they said as well. How does that measure up to most “tongues” used in the church today?
Peter proceeds to preach one of the most important sermons in the history of the church. How long did it last? It’s not how much you preach, but what you say. For that matter it is not how eloquent, but how empowered you are that makes a sermon.
Three thousand people are saved, and the church starts down a road of steady growth followed by repeated persecution, two aspects of church life that are apparently closely related.