Bella Vista Church of Christ



Jeff Grisham


What Is Wrong With You People?


  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? And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”(Acts 2:5-8,12-13 ESV)


  This passage from Acts chapter two sets up that first sermon preached by Peter on Pentecost. It is a sermon with which many of us are familiar, and certainly is a great place to see the grace of God extended and the response of humanity that God desires. However, there are some things we need to see about what - or more appropriately who - prompted the sermon.


  In the passage above, we see that this sermon was set in motion by the coming of the Holy Spirit. Prior to His ascension, Jesus had promised that the Spirit would come (Acts 1:7-8), and following His coming, the disciples would be effective witnesses for Christ. When the Holy Spirit came, it had a profound effect on the disciples of Jesus; so much so that the people in Jerusalem wondered, “How can this be? What is wrong with these people? Are they drunk?” The work of the Holy Spirit gave Peter the opportunity to testify about the work of God through Jesus. His work gave Peter the words to speak to a receptive audience who, in turn, were convicted of their sin and brought to repentance and baptism and the church took root and began to spread.


  One of the things that is incredibly impressive about the church we find in Acts is the pace at which it grew. It seems that this small group of people who were carrying the message of the redemption made possible by God through Jesus was an unstoppable force. Luke, in Acts, reveals to us that this unstoppable force was based on the power of the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, throughout the book of Acts, Luke keeps reminding his readers that the Holy Spirit is actively involved in the growth of the Kingdom of God.


  In our current context, where church membership may appear to be in decline, it is tempting to look for different programs or strategies for the advancement of the Kingdom. Could it be that when we think of the various strategies and ideas, that we are overlooking the power of the Holy Spirit of God that is at work in us and in the world? What drew the attention to the disciples of Jesus that gave the opportunity to tell the redemption story of God was that they were obviously different from the world around them. Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit would dwell within the baptized believers. The same Holy Spirit that was poured out on the first disciples dwells in current disciples. He has the ability to transform us into people that are markedly different than the world around us. Our lives, when led by the Holy Spirit will look differently enough from the world around us that people may ask, “What is wrong with you people?” This opens the door for us to be witnesses to those with whom we come in contact.


  We can accomplish this by doing what the original disciples did. They were obedient to the instructions of Jesus. Whenhe told them to wait, they waited. When he told them to go, they went. They also looked for the opportunities that God placed in front of them and acted on them. They allowed the Holy Spirit of God to lead them. I believe that when we are obedient to the commands of Jesus, looking for opportunities that God supplies, and will cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we will also be different people. Our words and actions will cause the world around us to ask, “What is wrong with you people?” And it will give us the opportunity to be faithful witnesses of Jesus. May God help us as we commit to be Spirit-led people and faithful witnesses of Jesus.


—Jeff Grisham