During this ‘GIFTED’ series, one of my favorite CLC’ers asked, “Is there any indication at all in scripture that Jesus had a prayer language or spoke in tongues with an interpreter?
Great question, and one that others are probably asking, too. Here’s my answer:
NO. There is never any mention of Jesus speaking in tongues (“prayer language”, as we often say at CLC) or using the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues.
However, that does not disturb me in the slightest as to the importance of praying in tongues in the life of a believer today, for these reasons:
- Jesus predated the advent of tongues as a sign of the Holy Spirit baptism. In fact, Jesus ascended into heaven at the end of the four Gospels (recorded in Acts 1), but the first instance of anyone speaking in tongues was about a week later, in Acts 2:4. Acts 2:32-33 makes it even clearer: Jesus was the one who baptized those 120 believers with the Holy Spirit, but He was already in heaven when it happened to them. Thus, we can see that He was not living on earth when the Holy Spirit was poured out, with one of the signs of that outpouring being the ability to speak a language we never learned. So Jesus didn’t have a prayer language for the same reason that Abraham or Moses or David or any other ‘hero’ from the Old Testament did not – that gift was not offered during his lifetime.
- If I may elaborate on that point a bit further, Jesus Himself told us that the Holy Spirit couldn’t come until He ascended back into heaven – notice John 14:12 and 16:7. So again, there was no need or opportunity for Jesus to experience a miraculous prayer language, since the Holy Spirit could not be poured out until He ascended back into heaven.
- Also, I should point out that Jesus was not baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same way that we are today, because He was the Holy Spirit embodied (Col. 2:9), and the Scripture plainly says that He had the Holy Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). He had no need of a ‘sign’ because He was the only begotten Son of God!
- For what it’s worth, I have heard some well-meaning but Biblically misinformed folks say that Jesus spoke in tongues while on the cross in Mark 15:34. However, those words were the common Aramaic that Jesus spoke – definitely not in tongues, as can be seen in that the people who heard him rushed to respond.
I hope that helps. Perhaps someone reading this can offer additional explanations – or maybe you also have a question to Ask the Pastor. Please leave your comments below-
Meanwhile, I’m excited about this Sunday when we’ll explore the ‘power gifts’ of faith, working of miracles and healings! It’ll be a great Memorial Day weekend at each CLC campus, and we’d love to have you join us!