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Did Mary Speak in Tongues at Pentecost?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The first two chapters of Acts indicate that Mary was among those who "began to speak with other tongues" that day.

The first two chapters of Acts indicate that Mary was indeed among those who "began to speak with other tongues" of "the wonderful works of God" on that marvelous day. But the woman of Acts is not the Roman Catholic caricature - she is a humble witness for Christ.

The Upper Room Remnant

In Acts 1:12-17, we read that after Jesus ascended to Heaven, the believers

...returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey.

And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty)...

Notice who was there in the upper room, as part of the believing remnant. Verse 13 tells us that the remaining eleven of the twelve original apostles were there, and names each of them. Verse 14 tells us that "the women" were there. No doubt, these were the women that Luke often speaks of in his Gospel account, since this is a phrase he also uses in that book.

Who were some of these women? There was Mary Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons. There were other women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, and had ministered to Him along the way. And some of these same women, the Gospels tell us, were looking on from a distance as Jesus suffered and died on the cross. They also came and sat opposite the tomb and observed where Jesus had been buried. And early on the first day of the week, some of these same women were the first to come and discover the empty tomb, and to learn from the angel that Christ had risen from the dead.

Throughout His ministry, and even in the providential acts surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus had given special - and in those days unaccustomed - status to women. Throughout His ministry, His dealings with women showed a kindness, respect, and sympathy that were not typical of the way Jewish or Gentile men treated women in that day. And He made it clear that although there is to be male authority in the church, and only men are to preach and hold office, women were not to be spiritual second class citizens. So it is not insignificant that these women were part of the 120 in the upper room.

And Luke names one particular woman. "Mary the mother of Jesus" was part of the remnant. But she doesn't occupy some elevated status, as Roman Catholicism would have us believe. She is here along with other women as part of this small faithful group. In fact, this is the last we read of her by name in the Bible.

"They Were All Filled With the Holy Spirit..."

But Scripture indicates that this is not the last we hear about Mary. Think about this: According to Acts 2:1-5, all of those gathered in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost -

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs - we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues." So we have every reason to believe that Mary was one of those. This dear, faithful lady who had been called by God to be the mother of her own Lord and Savior, and who had endured seeing Him suffer and die for sinners, was filled with the Holy Spirit and was one of those who spoke supernaturally in other languages of the wonderful works of God on the Day of Pentecost. No doubt she was also among those who thereafter "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). And no doubt she was among those who were in the temple daily, praising God and proclaiming Christ (verse 43).

What a glorious and fitting end to the Biblical account of Mary the mother of Jesus. The woman we find in the early chapters of Acts is not Roman Catholicism's caricature of the real person, the false object of the prayers of millions who walk in darkness, blasphemously elevated to the status of almost a fourth member of the Godhead as the so-called "co-redemptrix". This is the true, humble servant of her Lord and Savior, the object of His saving grace.

What About You?

Are you, with the same kind of humility, proclaiming the wonderful works of God? Are you telling others what your Savior has done for you - what Christ can do for them? Are you doing it on the basis of our sole authority for sound doctrine, the written Word of God? Like Mary the mother of Jesus, Scripture-driven Christians today must be faithful to that calling, as our Lord Himself has commanded us.

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