Summary: When God gave his Spirit to the believers, we see the church begins to expand and grow. God keeps adding new members to the church day by day until Jesus the promised saviour returns. Jesus is the beginning and the end.
Power: God Gives His Spirit
After Jesus had gone back to heaven, his disciples stayed in Jerusalem waiting for God’s spirit. At this time, there was another religious holiday and Jewish people from all over the world had come to Jerusalem to celebrate. One day the disciples were gathered together in a room. Suddenly they heard a big noise like a strong wind and what appeared to be flame of fire came on each of the disciples and they were filled with God’s spirit. They began speaking in different languages about all the wonderful things that God had done. When the people heard this, they came running and gathered outside. They asked, “How can we hear them speaking our own languages?” Some people laughed and said that they were drunk. Peter ran out and said, “Listen up, they’re not drunk. It is only nine in the morning. What you see happening is what God promised to the prophets that one day, God’s spirit will come on his people. They will have dreams and visions. God sent Jesus as his promised saviour and he proved this by doing many miracles. You and your religious leaders killed him. God raised him back to life. It is this Jesus who sent God’s spirit to us. The people asked him, “What should we do?” Peter said, “Turn from your sins and turn back to God for the forgiveness of your sins. Receive God’s spirit and be baptised in the name of Jesus.” That day, three thousand people believed. They began meeting together and they were known as the church. They listened to the teachings of the disciples. They ate together and they sold their properties and possessions. They shared the money with those in need. People thought well of them and they became known as Christians. Everyday God kept adding more and more believers to their number.
Stand Up and Walk: Peter Heals a Crippled Man
Sometime after God’s spirit came to the Christians at Jerusalem, two of the disciples of Jesus named Peter and john were going to the temple to pray. Sitting outside the temple, there was a man who had been paralyzed from birth and he was begging for money. When he saw Peter and John coming, he asked them for money. Peter said to him, “Look at us.” The man looked up at them and expecting to receive something from them. Peter said to him, “I don’t have any money but what I do have I will give you. ‘In the name of Jesus, Stand up and walk.’” Peter took the man by the arm and helped him stand. Immediately, his legs were strengthened and he was healed. He began to walk, celebrate and to praise God. The three of them walked into the temple together. When the people who were in the temple saw the man, they were surprised because they recognized him as the one who had been paralyzed sitting by the temple gate. Peter seeing his opportunity to speak to the whole crowd at once said to them, “Why are you staring at us as if we healed this man? It is by faith in the name of Jesus that this man was healed. That is the same Jesus that you rejected and killed but God brought him back to life.” All these things happened to fulfill what the prophets had spoken about that the promised saviour would have to suffer these things. Now turn from your sins and turn to God that your sins would be forgiven. Peter and John continue to teach about Jesus. Some religious leaders came up and overheard them. They did not like what they were hearing so they had Peter and John arrested and thrown in jail. That day, many people believed their message and the number of Christians grew to about five thousand.
Boldness: Threats from the Religious Leaders
The next morning after Peter and John were arrested, they were brought in front of the religious counsel for questions. The religious leaders asked them, “By what power or in whose name did you heal this man?” Peter who was filled with God’s spirit responded and said, “Are you asking us this because of something good we did for this man? It was in the name of Jesus that this man was healed. This is the same Jesus that you had killed but that God brought back to life. In fact, Jesus is the only way people can be saved.” The religious leaders were amazed because they knew that Peter and John were ordinary men who had not been educated. They remembered that Peter and John had been with Jesus. The religious leaders did not know what to do with them because the man who had been healed was standing right there and everybody had seen it happened. They were afraid that if they punished Peter and John, the crowds might riot. So they just ordered them not to speak about Jesus anymore. Peter and John responded and said, “You decide for yourself that it is right for us to obey you or to obey God. As for us we can’t help but speak about what we have seen and heard.” The religious leaders still did not know what to do with them so they threaten them some more. Then they went ahead and let them go. Peter and John went back to where the other Christians were meeting and told them everything that had happened. They all prayed to together and said, “God, you created the heavens and the earth and everything in them and you know how they have been threatening us. Give us boldness to continue to tell people about Jesus. Please keep healing people and doing miracles through his name.” Immediately the place where they were meeting was shaken and they were all filled with God’s spirit. They went out and continued to tell about Jesus with great boldness.