Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection and just before His ascension back to the Father He “ordered them “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me” (Acts 1:4). Ten days later, something remarkable happened.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4).
This happened in Jerusalem during the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, one of three major annual festivals of the Jews. To determine the day they counted seven weeks after the Passover and the day after the last day of the seventh week, or the fiftieth day was Pentecost. They celebrated it as the day on which the Law of Moses was brought down from Sinai by Moses. It was also known as the Feast of Ingathering because it celebrated the bringing of the first of the harvest into the temple.
There were people gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world wherever the Jews were scattered. It was a family affair – the whole family of God, gathered together in Jerusalem in the presence of God, rejoicing, celebrating, feasting and being drawn closer to God and to one another.
This is not insignificant for what occurred on that day recorded in Acts 2. On that Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out and the apostles began to speak to the people in their own languages, telling them the story of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Peter argues powerfully from the scriptures that Jesus is now “Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36).
Here was the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah being announced and these people had crucified Him. Upon hearing this announcement, “…they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” ((v. 37).
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41).
The harvest of souls had began. Those who were gathered together were “added to the their number” daily. (Acts 2:47). These people constituted a new community – a new way of living together in fellowship with God and with one another. This is what we see in the first days of the church. Theirs was a community based not on fleshly lineage, but on their common faith in Jesus as Lord.
The church is intended by God to be a living demonstration before the world of the power of love – the kind of love that binds people together the kind of love that motivates people to work and serve, not out of selfish motives, but purely for love’s sake. It is a love that stands true to commitments – a love that is after the nature of God who is Himself said to BE love. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8).
In the first days of the church this is exactly what we see. In Acts 2:42-47 we see the beginnings of this new community as they shared in learning, shared joys, shared goods and shared life. The result was that they were a blessing to others as people were continually coming to the Lord and were being added to the number of the saved.