One of the things I love about group studies is when someone asks questions or makes observations that I’d not think of or otherwise miss, which is exactly what my friend ‘B’ did yesterday in our small group’s first study in the book of Acts.
‘B’ is an Iranian refugee, and his story is incredible, although you would never guess it to look at him, and one of his questions made me see something that just blew me away. In Acts 2:8-11, Luke rattles off a list of some of the nations represented on the day of Pentecost, all hearing in their own language. I don’t think I’d score very well if I had to identify some of the places on a map, given that the names have changed.
My friend’s question related to whether the list was exhaustive. Were there Chinese people there, perhaps? I don’t think Luke was giving an exhaustive list, and I’m guessing there weren’t any Chinese people there, though there may well have been. There was certainly no Australians there. But, we realised, there were Iranians there. Luke writes that “Parthians and Medes” were amongst the group, which is, as my friend explained, from the area of modern day (Kurdish?) Iran.
We’re a very international group. Last night we consisted of people from Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Iran, and Australia, but of all of us, only one guy’s ethnic ancestors were actually named as having been there at pentecost. That blows me away, because here we are, nearly two millenia later, people from all over the world and various cultures, all having heard the message that Peter preached that day.