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Breezin’ Through the Bible # 28, Christianity Begins

May 8, 2014

Christianity Begins

“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised,” Jesus told the disciples. (Acts 1:4) Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his crucifixion. True to his word, God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples on Pentecost, 50 days after Passover when Jess had gone to his Father. Luke tells us that the disciples were united in prayer, along with Mary, mother of Jesus, some women, and his brothers in a room in Jerusalem. They had selected a twelfth disciple to replace Judas. The Holy Spirit arrived with the sound of a loud wind, and flames settled upon them. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, surprising people who were from all nations. They told the people of the wonderful things God had done, told them to repent and be baptized, and they, too, would receive the Holy Spirit.

The believers were together and held everything in common, and the Lord added to their numbers. Peter healed a lame man at the temple gate, causing consternation among the priests and temple guards, who thought they were finished with Jesus. John and Peter were seized and put into jail and then brought before the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law. Peter told them that Jesus is the stone the builders rejected, “which has become the cornerstone.” The leaders were surprised that these ordinary unschooled men were so courageous and bold, but they released them, hoping their moverment would not spread.

The apostles performed signs and wonders, attracting many people. People from the towns around Jerusalem brought their sick and injured to be healed. The apostles met together to break bread and pray, but the high priest arrested them. In the night an angel opened the doors of the jail and let them out. They went to the temple courts to preach and pray again and were brought back to the high priest. Again they were told not to preach and pray, but Peter and the others said they could only obey God, not humans. The Jewish leaders wanted to put them to death, but a teacher of the law, Gamaliel, reminded them of other incidents which had failed, persuading them to release them, saying “if their purpose is of human origin, it will fail, but if it is from God, you cannot fight against it.”

The apostles did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Hundreds and thousands joined the movement to follow Jesus, and it grew in a small part of the known world. But the movement could have been aborted.

-to be contd.-

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