21st May 2013

Accents 

“Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, ‘does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’ They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’”
John 7:50-52 (NKJV)
 

Accents fascinate me! And I find myself trying to guess where in the world people are from by the way they speak. Jesus spoke with an accent, a Galilean accent, and it seems as if everyone from Galilee was looked down upon as uneducated and crude! This was just another aspect of Jesus’ life that enraged the religious hierarchy in Judea—how is it that this uneducated person could speak with authority and actually perform miracles? Surely that can’t be right; he’s not one of us! 

Apparently, one of the reasons for their strange accent was the fact that the Aramaic spoken by Judeans and Galileans was different—it seems that many guttural sounds in Galilean Aramaic had disappeared over the centuries, and apparently they dropped their ‘aitches’! And the Bible refers to the distinctive dialect of Galilee a number of times. We read in Matthew 26:69, 73, “Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee.’” Of course, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, and then one bystander said to him, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Poor Peter he got caught out by his accent! 

Notice this also In John 1:45-46, when Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathaniel said to Him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’” This was obviously a common expression concerning the people who lived north of the hostile province of Samaria—the people up there are crude and uneducated; even their accent is strange; no wonder Isaiah refers to that place as ‘Galilee of the Gentiles!’ (Isaiah 9:1). 

Then on the day of Pentecost, after Jesus had ascended to his Father, his disciples were all filled with the power that He had promised. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). But notice the reaction of those people who heard them; people from all over the known world at that time—“Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?” (Verse 7). In other words, we must be hearing things how is it possible for these common people to preach in our own language “the wonderful works of God?” (Verse 11). The answer to their question of course is—by the Spirit of God who takes us beyond accents and education! 

Prayer
Thanks to you, Holy Father, that you love us all no matter where we come from, or how we speak.
Amen

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 cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton, the Worldwide Church of God UK Congregation in Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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