4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.
5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 When this sound occurred, the multitude came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own languages the magnificent acts of God.” 12 And they were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What could this be?” 13 But some sneered and said, “They’re full of new wine!”
Not only will the Spirit make His presence known in your life, but He will make His power known. He will do things in you and through you that could only be done by the power of God.
The apostles and those others there began to speak in other tongues. That is to say that they began to speak in foreign dialects(v. 6) or languages. This was not an ability that any of them had innately or by education. In fact, look at the reaction of those who heard them.
There was in Jerusalem a community of Jews who had resettled there from many other countries. They are the Jews of the diaspora, or dispersion. They had been in other countries for generations, but had now returned to live in Jerusalem. Luke shows that they represented many nations, cultures and languages from Judea to North Africa, from Iran and Turkey to Rome. North and South of Jerusalem, East and West, these Jews had returned to their native land. They were pious, God-fearing people. But when they heard the ruckus taking place among the apostles they were amazed. Luke uses four different words to describe their reaction. In verse 6 he says they were bewildered. In verse 7 he uses two words which are combined into utterly amazed, individually they mean to be amazed and to marvel. In verse 12 he says they were amazed and perplexed. This was an astonishing event to them because while they could all speak the common language of Jerusalem, they were now hearing the apostles speak to them in their own native tongues. Look at the statement Luke records in verse 7, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?” It was not a slam against Galileans, but it was obvious that these men were not highly educated and none were from other countries. And yet, they each heard the gospel, the wonders of God, in their own language.
This phenomenon is obviously the work of the power of the Spirit in their lives. They were able to do beyond their abilities. Verse 4 states they spoke in tongues as the Spirit enabled them. This is a difficult phrase to translate but part of its meaning is shown in this translation. They were able to speak in these languages because of the work of the Spirit in their lives.
When the Spirit comes into your life, he enables you to do just what it is that He needs you to do. I’m sure that if you would’ve asked those in that room if they could go down to the streets and begin preaching to the Libyans in their own language they would’ve laughed at you. They might have responded to you with these words, “I don’t know the language. What if I use the wrong words. They don’t know me. They wouldn’t listen to me. I wouldn’t know what to say. I’ve never really had any training in that area of service. That’s not my responsibility. That’s not my calling.” The power of the Holy Spirit overcame all of these potential excuses. They did not offer the excuses because they were convinced of the presence of the Spirit and the power of the Spirit to do miracles among them.