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May 22, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick

I've Got the Power (Acts 2:5-13)


(Acts 2:5-6)

5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

The sound of Jesus' disciples declaring the wonderful works of God cannot be ignored (Acts 2:5-6,11). When His followers had been baptized with the Holy Spirit they began, as led and enabled by the Spirit, to speak in other tongues - and not too quietly. When the devout Jewish men from every nation under heaven hear their excited voices they respond by going to investigate. 


As the curious multitude begins arriving on the scene where the sound is coming from it is a bit much to take in. A crowd that has come looking for answers gets something else: confusion. Why? This scene does not make sense. Imagine it. Regardless of where you are from you hear people in this group exalting God in your native tongue. And this is all the more remarkable because the people doing this have a hard time speaking their own language.


The Power of God in a yielded person

works to make them worship and to

make those who watch... wonder why.


(Acts 2:7-11)

7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

It does not take long for the arriving observers to take stock of the people making the noise: Look,... all these who speak are Galileans. 


How did the crowd know that the people speaking were Galileans? There were a few things that may have marked the Spirit-filled group as being from the region of Galilee. Of those things  accent ranks foremost. Remember, the multitude was drawn by the sound of their speech. It would be natural as they neared the group to be able to hear them with increasing clarity. Arriving at the place where the apostles and other disciples were speaking in tongues it would have been obvious to people of that time and region; the Galilean accent could not be hidden.


    “The pronunciation, the dialect, ἡλαλία of the Galilæans was defective in the utterance of the gutturals, so that no distinction was perceptible between ה ,ע ,א. Besides, the Galilæns also pronounced the שׁ like ח.” De Wette. The pronunciation of the people of Galilee was uncouth and indistinct; hence they were not allowed to read aloud in the Jewish synagogues. The Talmudists relate a number of amusing anecdotes about the curious misunderstandings occasioned by the indistinctness of pronunciation in Galilee. See Friedlieb, p. 84.

    Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Matthew (p. 498). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.


    Galilaean speech was easily recognized because of its loss of laryngeals and aspirates; cf. A. Neubauer, “The Dialects of Palestine in the Time of Christ,” in Studia Biblica, I (Oxford, 1885), p. 51; G. Dalman, Grammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch (Leipzig, 1894), pp. 33–40, 42–51; F. Rosenthal, Die aramäistische Forschung (Leiden, 1939), p. 108 n.; E. Y. Kutscher, Studies in Galilaean Aramaic (Bar-Ilan University Press, Israel, 1976)


Only weeks prior to all of this Peter, in a moment of terrible weakness, attempts to deny association with on-trial Jesus. But try as he might his accent gives the big fisherman away:


73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” (Matthew 26:73, NKJV)


The onlookers are all amazed and marveling. These devout Jews cannot 


  • The Numerous Languages - There are fifteen countries mentioned in this list. The people from each country came with their own dialect of common languages (Aramaic) or an entirely different tongue (Assyrian).
  • The Notorious Limitations - Without question it is striking that the Galileans are speaking with these other tongues. Although they are considered weak in their language skills they are displaying the power of God for being a witness.


What looked like a horrible handicap was actually God's plan for ensuring that the disciples understand this simple truth:


The Holy Spirit is Himself the sufficiency

of the weak for the work of being a witness.


9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Let us not miss what it seems that the crowed did or could not observe: There is no mention made of the multitude marveling about the sound of the wind or the divided tongues of fire that sat upon each of the recently baptized disciples (Acts 2:3).  While the sound of wind and flames were apparent to the people who were baptized it seems that those who had not received the Holy Spirit either (1) arrived too late to view the tongues of fire or (2) were not able to see the tongues of fire. In either case this sign was not mentioned by the people that entered the company of Jesus' disciples; it seems that they were only given the words of Jesus witnesses - in their own tongues.


Some signs are sent to simply to say, "I am with you!"

They come to create confidence that Christ is in me.


(Acts 2:12-13)

12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Wha-ever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

When the power of the Spirit to bear witness begins working in you there will often be two responses.

  • Marveling - Some will realize that you are operating above your ability and will see the hand of God.
  • Mocking - Some will scoff and cast aspersions on your work. They may even say that the spirit at work in you is not the Holy Spirit.
May 16, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick
How Is Your Foundation? (Matthew 21:42)

My grandparents built a humble home on the east side of San Antonio. Although it was very unremarkable I thought it was grand. One day as I was standing on the porch of their home looking at the brick columns I noticed somthing. I remarked to my grandfather that "Most of the bricks have some sort of rough place and extra concrete on them." It was then that he told me that the house was made of used or leftover bricks. They were not good enough for the former building. But they had made a great home for us.

As Jesus nears the end of His earthly ministry it becomes painfully obvious that the rulers do not regard Him as someone with whom ministry can be built. There is terrible irony in the fact that Jesus was rejected by His own people. However, He was and is in fact the foundation of living. Apart from Him we can do nothing!

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matthew 21:42)

How is your foundation? That is, what are you building your life on? A great job? A good marriage? Romance? Promoting the success of children? Civic duty or the promotion of your nation? Ministry? None of these things are bad investments of time. But they cannot be the basis for life. If the answer is not Jesus the answer is wrong. (Ministry and Jesus are not the same thing. The former is a calling but cannot save or give lasting peace. The latter calls, saves, and gives everlasting life.) You are in fact building on sand and the results will be tragic.

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Stop building on a bad foundation. Start today building on a good foundation: Jesus Christ. It will mean the transfer of trust and hope from something that looks promising to Someone that is proven.

In His grip by His grace,
Roderick L. Barnes, Sr.
Pastor of Unusually Great People
Three Rivers Community Church

May 10, 2015

Matthew 15:21-28

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.