This post reflects chapter twenty-eight in THE STORY. It reveals how the disciples continued to follow Jesus after He ascended to heaven. On a side note, of the remaining original eleven disciples, ten of them died horrific deaths for their believing in the power of name of Jesus.
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. Then on the fortieth day, Jesus ascended to heaven.
Though Jesus was gone, the disciples, being Jewish, continued with their tradition of Pentecost. Pentecost, a Jewish harvest festival, occurs fifty days after Passover and is one of their three major annual feasts. So together the disciples were gathered in a house celebrating Pentecost.
Suddenly, a violent wind came and filled the rooms. Tongues of fire came and rested on each of them. This was the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon them, and they each started speaking in a different languages. A crowd who heard the noises gathered and were amazed.
Act 2:7-8 “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
Peter then addressed the crowd, refuting claims that the disciples had too much to drink. 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.
To call on the name of the Lord means much more than shouting, “Hey, Lord, I need you!” To call on the name of the Lord is to appeal to the authority of the Lord for salvation. Peter wanted everyone to 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 to. The crowd was touched and asked what they should do.
Act 2:38-39 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.”
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 over to the authorities and then committed suicide. The 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, they were being saved.
However, it was their faith and authoritative way of speaking that also put a target on the disciples backs. The Sadducees did not like what they were doing. Stephen, a zealous believer, was stoned to death. And king Herod had James, the brother of John, put to the sword.
Then there was Saul. Saul was an educated man who believed in his Jewish faith. Originally, he was a staunch persecutor of Christians and was in fact present at the stoning of Stephen. Saul did not like what these 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 on the road to Damascus and made Saul 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.
Saul, a staunch rival against believers of Christ, became a follower, just as more and more followed Jesus.
If you have doubts about the truth of Jesus Christ, I encourage you to read any of the thirteen books written by Saul, later called Paul, in the Bible. A good one to start with is Galatians. It’s short and talks about being saved by faith and not by works.