Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did Jesus speak in tongues?

No doubt, that is a question that has been asked by millions of Christians throughout the centuries, and we believe that knowing the answer is vital for maximizing the quality of one's life as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
I believe that Jesus spoke in tongues.  Here is why I believe this way:
It is inevitable that a person who is baptized in the Spirit not to speak in tongues. John the Baptist himself said, "I indeed baptize you with water ....But He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."(Matt 3:11). What fire was John the Baptist speaking about, he was speaking about the "...divided tongues [or tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each], as of fire." (Acts 2:3).

Some of the disciples who were with John before joining Jesus were taught methods of prayer to God by John the Baptist. So, when they saw Jesus praying continuously, He spoke in tongues and they too deserved it. You may ask how do you know? In Luke 11:1, Jesus was praying in a particular place, When He ceased [When something that is flowing suddenly stops, it is known as ceasing], the curious disciples did not understand the prayer that Jesus prayed, So they asked Him to teach them how to pray like Him (Luke 11:1). The same word 'cease' is used by Paul in the New Testament for stopping from continuously praying in tongues in 1 Corinthians 13:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Impeccable Exhibit 1:  “And taking the child by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi!” which means, “Little girl, I tell you to get up.” (Mark 5:41). I believe Jesus said "Talitha cumi" through the Spirit or in tongues. If this was normal Greek or Hebrew, why did they go to such lengths to tell us what it meant? Jesus, being filled with the Spirit without measure, surely also spoke to God in His heavenly language.
Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit (Luke 10:21,) and groaned in the Spirit (John11:33.) This terminology is very similar to the term "Praying in the Spirit," which Paul uses to describe praying in tongues (1 Corinthians 14: 14-16.)
Impeccable Exhibit 2: Mark 7 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!”
The word “ephphatha” which means “be opened” was not known to people around him, meaning that “Jesus” was speaking in unknown language and/or a language which was not known by the people around Him, it was aramaic.

Impeccable Exhibit 3: Mark 15:  34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.
The people around Him did not know the language Jesus used. It was an unknown language and that is why those who stood by, said “Behold” He is calling Elias.
In Acts 2: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2&version=KJV
The context plainly reveals what kinds of tongues were being spoken - 2:6-12 (at least 15 mentioned). For how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?"
In the same token, Jesus in Mark 5:41 used 'Talitha cumi' It is a mixture of Syriac and Chaldee, called Syro-Chaldaic. 
Mark 16:15-17 He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.

The verses above are an excerpt of Mark’s account of Jesus’ Great Commission. It was Jesus Himself who initiated the subject of speaking in tongues in the New Testament. He said that it would be a “sign” that would accompany believers as they went into all the world and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Beyond that, speaking in tongues is a beautiful way to circumvent the limited vocabulary of our native tongue and tell our Father that we love Him. It is a way to perfectly worship (Phil. 3:3) and praise (1 Cor. 14:16) the Creator, to give thanks well (1 Cor. 14:17), to speak the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11), to magnify Him (Acts 10:46), to edify yourself (1 Cor. 14:4) and to build yourself up in faith (Jude 20). 

To summarize, why then should we encourage speaking in tongues today, in the 21st century?
• Jesus said that believers would (Mark 16:17).
• Tongues certify and give evidence that the person isbaptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; 10:44-46; 11:15-17; 19:1-6).
• Speaking in tongues is a good opportunity to submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading (Acts 2:4).
• Tongues demonstrate the reality of God in the speaker’s life (Acts 11:15-18).
• The baptism with the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues, opens the door to other gifts of the Spirit (Acts 19:2,6).
• Tongues with interpretation are “for the [church’s]common good (1 Corinthians 12:7, 10).
• Speaking in tongues is speaking to God (1 Corinthians 14:2a).
• Praying in tongues is praying “in” or “with the Spirit(1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-15).
• The speaker in tongues is edified (1 Corinthians 14:4).
• The apostle Paul expressly approved of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5a, 39).
• A tongue followed by an interpretation edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12-13).
• Tongues allow us a balanced prayer and worship life, both with the spirit and with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).
• When speaking in tongues, you may be giving thanks well to God (1 Corinthians 14:16-17).
• Speaking in tongues was apostolic practice(1 Corinthians 14:18 and at Pentecost).
• Tongues with interpretation are an appropriate, strengthening part of an edifying church service(1 Corinthians 14:26).
From the bottom of my heart, I commend to you the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:5: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.”

By: Max Shimba, A Bond Servant of Jesus Christ

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