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Good morning bus riders!
We have reached the sixth Sunday of the Easter season. In the Episcopal Church’s way of counting down to fifty days, we are at day thirty-six. That means there is only fourteen more days practicing being Jesus!
We get a glimpse of what that means from today’s short reading from Acts. While it doesn’t say it expressly, Peter was being Jesus by talking.
When we read, “While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word,” that can be heard as saying, “While Peter was still speaking as Jesus resurrected, that Spirit of Holiness came over all who heard the word.”
Before Jesus died on a cross, Peter had denied he even knew Jesus three times. He was hiding in fear, along with all the other disciples. He was a non-entity from his denials until the day of Pentecost.
In between, Jesus appeared to his disciples and spent time with them, which is what us Christians call the Easter season. Jesus appeared IN his disciples, so they could practice letting Jesus lead them.
When Peter healed the man born lame and now when he spoke and Gentiles became Christians, Peter was ACTING in the name of Jesus.
That leads to where verse 46 says, “they heard them speaking in tongues.”
What does that mean … “speaking in tongues”?
<Look for raised hands or quizzical faces.>
Before we go down a rabbit hole of discussion, let me first say that I did a search of the Internet about “where does the Bible say “speaking in tongues”' and it only appears in Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Mark. One site I visited listed twenty verses, although some were connected to other verses that said the actual words and did not actually use the term “speaking in tongues.”
The Greek words that translate as “speaking in tongues” are “lalountōn glōssais.” Those words can say “speaking in languages.” Still, the key word says “speaking” was a form of communication coming from their mouths.
Now, as a child I was raised in a Pentecostal church, where “speaking in tongues” was an expectation of the congregation. They practiced that. They taught me how do try to do that. My mother practiced doing that in her private prayer sessions with God.
I do not believe that what I was taught about “speaking in tongues” captures the truth of what is written in Acts 10:46.
Based only on these five verses read from Acts 10 today, they all begin with Peter speaking.
Because the Spirit of Yahweh “fell upon all who heard,” Peter never stopped speaking.
For others to also speak at the same time, there was either mass confusion – meaning nobody could tell what anyone was saying – or they were all saying the same thing.
I want you to think about that last suggestion for a moment.
<Let the idea sink in for ten seconds.>
If one realizes that Peter was not the higher voice that was speaking as him; but it was Peter married to Yahweh’s Spirit, making Jesus be risen within his body of flesh, it was Peter’s lips and tongue moving but it was Jesus speaking.
Now, think back to the Sunday we read about the Luke story of the “road to Emmaus” and how Jesus appeared as a stranger there. The timing of that day says Jesus appeared in Emmaus at the same time he appeared before his disciples (sans Thomas) in Jerusalem. I said then that the soul of Jesus can be multiple places at the same time, because that is a power Yahweh wields.
Realizing that, consider how when we read the Spirit “fell upon those who heard,” that says Jesus was raised in each and every one who heard the word. Now, see how the same soul of Jesus, then in multiple bodies of flesh, all began to speak the same words that Peter spoke … in unison.
Everybody was talking at the same time, but everything was clearly understood because it was like reciting the pledge of allegiance or everyone saying the Lord’s prayer, all together.
Now, when that explains the “speaking” part, look then at the “tongues” or the “languages” being spoken.
We read, “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” The “circumcised believers” were Jews. The Gentiles were Cornelius and his Roman soldiers and family.
When “languages” are what makes a Jew “astounded,” that says the Gentiles were speaking Hebrew, along with them, as if everyone spoke Hebrew fluently. Out of each mouth [a “tongue”] came a “language” none of them spoke normally, in conversation.
Now that would be astounding by itself; but we then read how the Gentiles [along with the Jews also speaking] were “extolling God.”
The Greek that is translated as that is “megalynontōn ton Theon.” The verb there can mean: “enlarging, lengthening, increasing, magnifying, or extolling.” That says not only were they all speaking Hebrew, but they were expanding on what the Hebrew meant.
That then takes us back to question relative to what “speaking” means.
If I speak English now, you hear English spoken; and, because you speak English, you understand what I am saying. We are all “speaking” the same “language,” but I am the only one doing the talking.
If I begin to use English words that make great sense to you, based on what I am saying, the proverbial ‘light bulb’ goes off in your brains, and everyone has an “aha moment” together.
Because Peter had become Jesus reborn, due to Peter’s soul marrying Yahweh’s Spirit, whenever Peter spoke from that Spirit within Yahweh was releasing the soul of Jesus to enter those seekers whose ears were open to hearing God’s Word. That means the Spirit falling upon all who heard” was a baptism by the Spirit.
That was recognized by Peter, when he said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
That was not Peter proposing someone get a bowl of water or everyone run down to the creek. It was not a question about what they should do next. Instead, it was a summation of what had just happened.
Peter, who had denied Jesus and hid like a scared animal, had no powers to baptize anyone, especially not with water. His question was relative to those who had gathered together to receive insight. With the Spirit speaking through Peter, there was an “outpouring of Spirit” that flowed over all who were present.
Peter felt it, as did everyone there. Everyone knew the Spirit had married with their souls.
In First John today we read: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” Now, that is a translation that is “speaking in tongues,” just needing a little guidance to decipher.
If one looks at the Greek text and lets the Spirit flow out, John said: “Everyone having faith that Jesus is.”
Stop! Go no further until you grasp that as the truth.
<Pause for ten seconds.>
Everyone who heard Yahweh speak through Peter became Jesus. Thus, “Everyone had expanded beyond belief to the truth of faith, because Jesus had been reborn within them.”
"Everyone having faith … that Jesus being." Can you hear the word?
When you can hear that, then hear they were “extolling” of the Word. At that time "that Jesus is" in them, all are reborn as Jesus; so, that means all are then the Christ. That word "Christos" means they have become “Anointed ones,” just as was Jesus.
Then, John explained that transformation means one has been “born of God.”
When Peter and his Jewish companions stayed for some days with their new Gentile friends, that was a statement of “love,” which matches what John wrote: “everyone loving this having begotten.” That says being filled with Yahweh’s Spirit – being born of God – means “loving” that state of existence.
John then said that inner feeling, which is “loving,” then flows outwardly, so one “loves” others. This is because of this presence of “love” that has been born within.
Now, the translation read aloud says this speaks of children and parents; but John did not use those words. The implication is the Son and the Father; and, that is the only way to understand what John wrote.
This is the truth of being “born again,” such that Jesus’ soul becoming one with our souls makes us reborn, so we become children “born of God.” That makes all of us become His Sons, because we are all reborn as Jesus, regardless of what human gender we have. Human gender is a characteristic born of our parents. The Spirit and all of Yahweh's realm is considered masculine, to us feminine humans [males and females].
Last Sunday I talked about the many times John wrote the word “love.” I explained that the “love” John wrote of was the “love of God.” I added that "love" can only be known through the marriage of one’s soul to Yahweh’s Spirit. The “love of God” cannot be measured in the physical emotions that a human body feels.
Today, John is found to add to what he wrote in chapter 4: “the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments.”
He then added how keeping the commandments was not a burden, because being “born of God conquers the world.” By that, “the world” represents all the lures and suggestions to break a law or commit a sin.
That added scope further defines the “love of God.”
This theme of "God’s love" is central to the Gospel reading from John today. While not the source commandment Jesus gave to his disciples, it repeats that by having Jesus say, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
To even begin to fully grasp that, it is vital to know that Jesus waited to give that commandment only to his disciples, after Judas Iscariot had left the Seder meal to go betray Jesus. Because of this group being privately selected, it cannot be globally applied, as if Jesus told everyone in the whole wide world to love everyone.
I want you to think about what Jesus said to his disciples as being relative to Peter speaking from the Spirit, so that everyone present was filled with God’s love. All became forever changed, when Jesus merged with their souls. All were filled with the Spirit that comes from marriage to Yahweh .. they were born of God's love.
The word “commandment” comes from the Greek “entolē,” where the word properly means “the end result of a command.” [from HELPS Word-studies] Therefore, Jesus was saying the end result of what receiving God’s love seeks is for that love to not be held privately and selfishly. Instead, it is given to be shared.
That sharing what has been God-given makes doing what Yahweh wants burden free.
Peter had not become a new Peter. He had God’s love shared with him by Jesus, so after the soul of Jesus was freed from the physical realm [his Ascension] it was able to be sent by Yahweh back, into Peter; so, the love of God that was Jesus became the love of God that was Jesus in Peter.
Thus, the love of God that was Jesus in Peter became the love of God that was Jesus in the other Jews and Gentiles who were seeking to marry Yahweh and become Jesus reborn.
That reflects Jesus saying, "you love one another as I have loved you." The world can fall into this "love," as no one is forbidden to seek marriage to Yahweh. However, one's heart must be pure in that desire.
In the Acts reading, where it says, “Then they invited him to stay for several days” is another of those translations that hides the Spirit that is contained in the words written. The same Greek words can translate to say, “at that time they prayed [Jesus’] soul [one with them] to remain [and shine the light of] days certain.”
When you see it was not Peter being special, by Yahweh’s love sharing His Son to all who opened their hearts to Him and His love, those who were reborn as Jesus prayed to Yahweh not to take Jesus back from them. The presence of Jesus within them made the promise of eternal life be the “certain days,” when darkness had been overcome, be something they "invited to remain."
This presence within then matches how Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” The Greek word that translates as “abide” is “menō,” which equally translates as “remain.”
The Jews and Gentiles filled with Yahweh’s Spirit prayed to abide in him, where “him” is “Jesus,” not Peter. All knew the presence of Jesus came upon them from God. They had the same “love of God” that Jesus had.
Now, last week I reviewed the different forms of “love” that are found in John 21, where he wrote of Jesus asking Peter if he loved him, three times. Twice Jesus used the Greek word “agape,” which translates as “love,” and twice Peter responded with the word “philos,” which also translates as “love.” The third time, Jesus used “philos,” and Peter replied a third time with the same form of “love” – “philos”
That difference is important to realize in today’s Gospel reading, because when Jesus said, “friends,” that word is rooted in “philos.” Prior to that, when Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this,” all those references to “love” come from “agape.”
When Jesus said, “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you,” the essence of “friendly love” is like “brotherly love.” That is then a lesser “love” [“philos”] than “God’s love” [“agape”].
When one marries Yahweh, one’s soul experiences the “agape” of “God’s love.” When one is reborn as Jesus, where his soul overrides one’s own soul, there are like two souls that share the “philos” kind of “love” that brothers [regardless of human gender] share.
One’s soul in “God’s love” submits to His Will, which allows Him to send His Son to join one’s soul. Because it is natural for a marriage to bring about new births, the children's chant can now sing, "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jesus reborn in your body's carriage."
If you do what the soul of Jesus leads your body of flesh to do, then you are the “friend” of Jesus. You have “laid down you self-ego,” so the “friend” that is Jesus becomes one’s king. One's body becomes a nation unto Yahweh.
When we read Jesus said, “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father,” it is important to see that in terms of Peter speaking from the Spirit and the outpouring of “God’s love” filled both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus becoming their "friend" meant they could understand the language of Yahweh, after having heard the word from the Father. They knew what it meant because Jesus was within their minds making it all be known.
In David’s song of praise read today, he sang out: “Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the voice of song.” This is metaphor for the music us human beings make on the earthly plane. Our physical emotions sound out as vibrations caused by the world, with our bodies being played like musical instruments.
David played the harp melodically, which his psalms were written to be accompanied by. The harp brings forth beautiful sounds, which becomes the metaphor of the perfect marriage between one’s soul and Yahweh’s Spirit.
The same song of praise then speaks of a “roar” [not translated in the version we read], called “noise,” as well as horns sounding and clapping in rhythm. David sang, “Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.”
That says we are not filled with Yahweh’s Spirit to sit silently and do nothing.
John wrote in his epistle, “the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.” The ability to “testify” demands that one be a physical witness, which means knowing what it feels like to be Jesus reborn. Peter stood and so testified and the ones who heard the word knew the truth, so they became "witnesses" of Jesus, as the Christ.
Jesus said to his disciples, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” They would stand and speak in tongues on Pentecost, just as Peter would stand and speak the word of Yahweh in a Gentile household. Peter went when and where he was commanded to go by Yahweh.
It all points to them shouting with joy to Yahweh, because lost souls had found their way back to God … complete.
This is what practicing being Jesus means. This is how the Easter season prepares one to enter ministry.
Just as a harpist takes lessons, a priest of Yahweh, reborn as His Son, has to take the time to learn what Jesus said. That is like learning to play the notes of a song that never goes out of style.
There are fourteen more days of practice left. Use them well.