After Jesus returned to heaven, the disciples stayed in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded. The followers of Jesus gathered together and were praying constantly.
At that time a Jewish feast called Pentecost was happening. Pentecost was a celebration of thanksgiving. Jews from all over the world would come to Jerusalem to celebrate together.
While the believers were all together, suddenly, they heard a sound like a strong wind that filled the house. Then something like tongues of fire appeared over the heads of all the believers.Those that received the fire, received the fullness of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other languages.
The day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover, marks the beginning of the Christian church.
When the people in Jerusalem heard about this, a crowd gathered, wondering what was happening. The people were astonished when they heard the believers speaking in their own native languages, proclaiming the wonderful works of God.
Some accused the disciples of being drunk, but Peter stood up and said, “Listen to me! These people are not drunk! This is a fulfillment of the prophecy made by Joel which says, ‘In the last days, I will pour out My Spirit.’
“Men of Israel, Jesus was a man who did many mighty signs and wonders by the power of God, as you have seen and already know. You crucified him!”
“But God raised him to life again to fulfill the prophecy which says, ‘You will not let Your Holy One rot in the grave.’ God raised this Jesus from the dead. We are witnesses.”
“Jesus is now exalted to the right hand of God the Father. And the Father has sent the promised Holy Spirit which you are seeing and hearing.”
“Know for certain that God has made this Jesus, the one you crucified, both Master and Messiah!”
It is interesting to note that here, the same men who had been cowering in the upper room, the men who had run away from Jesus at the cross, were now running to Him and boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the Good News of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This should give us cause to ponder on the proof of the resurrection – not on what the witnesses saw but in how they responded to what they saw. For indeed, in years to come, not once did a single disciple or witness to Jesus’ resurrection change their story. In fact, many died a brutal death for the truth they witnessed personally. (People will die for something they believe to be true, but no one will ever die for something they know is a lie.)
Transformed by the Holy Spirit, the weak disciples were now courageous Apostles of God.
The people listening to Peter were deeply moved and asked, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter said, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
About 3,000 people believed what Peter said. They were baptized and were added to the people of God, which is the Church.
The “greater works” of the disciples, prophecised and promised by Jesus Christ in John 14:12, is now fulfilled. Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sees three thousand people respond to the gospel invitation.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. The believers devoted themselves to the disciples’ teaching, fellowship, eating together, and prayer. They all met together and shared everything they had. They praised God and were well received by those who were not Christians.
Jesus. The Old Testament points forward to Him. The New Testament points back to Him. But ALL Scripture points to Him, as Jesus said in John 5:39: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me.”