The Birth of the Church, The First Pentecost
Within ten days of Jesus’ return to the Father, His disciples ( a Greek term for those who had “submitted” to His teachings) - despite having encountered Him several times after His death - were huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem, frightened and confused. But Jesus had promised that he would send the Spirit upon them, and on that day, they experienced an unseen power in the midst of a great wind, with tongues of fire hovering over each of their heads. Their fear vanished, and they were suddenly filled with zeal and courage.
It was the day of a major Jewish feast - Pentecost (“fifty days” after the Passover Sabbath) - and the city was crowded with visitors, devout Jews from the Near East, North Africa, and other regions. Led by Peter, the Eleven whom Jesus had specially chosen as His Apostles (those who were “sent”), stood up in public and began to preach. Simple and unlearned men, they knew no language except their sacred Hebrew and their vernacular Aramaic. But the crowd marveled that everyone seemed to hear the message in his own tongue. Skeptics claimed that the preachers were merely drunk, but three thousand people, according to the Acts of the Apostles, received the message and were baptized into the Church that day.
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