THE STORY chapter # 28
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Thursday post focuses on our current study chapter.)
Jesus appeared many times to the disciples after His crucifixion, for a period of forty days. He continued to tell them about the kingdom of God. It was on the fortieth day, that Jesus ascended to heaven.
The disciples were together in a house celebrating Pentecost, a Jewish harvest festival. Suddenly a violent wind came and filled the rooms. Tongues of fire came and rested on each of them. This was their blessing of the Holy Spirit, and they each started speaking in different languages. A crowd who heard the noises gathered and were amazed.
“Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Act 2:7-8
Peter addressed the crowd. He repeated to them what the prophet Joel had said, proclaiming God’s Spirit will come and sons and daughters will prophesy. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Peter also stated it was God’s deliberate plan that Jesus was handed over for crucifixion. And that God raised Jesus to life, as everyone was witness of. The crowd was touched and asked what they should do.
Peter replied, “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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Act 2:38-39
And the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.
The Eleven disciples chose a new disciple to replace Judas, the one who turned Jesus in then committed suicide. These disciples, also called apostles because they were the primary disciples of Jesus, preformed many wonders among the people in the name of Jesus. Their deep faith allowed them to preform acts. And more and more people were added to their number.
But their faith and authoritative speaking also put a target on their backs. The Sadducees did not like what the disciples were doing. Stephen, a zealous believer, was stoned. And king Herod had James, the brother of John, put to the sword.
Then there was Saul. Originally a staunch persecutor of Christians, Saul was an educated man who believed in his Jewish faith. He did not like what the new Jesus followers were saying. He searched them out and took them prisoner. That is, until God made Saul a prisoner with blindness.
Jesus appeared to Saul and made him blind. After three days, God had a man called Ananias go and place his hands on Saul, allowing Saul to be filled with the Holy Spirit. From that moment on, the life of Saul, now called Paul, was changed.
THE STORY foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee