eMeditation on the Bible

 

Question: What is the story of the birth of the church?

 

Story (summary of Acts 2:1-40)

The birth of the church happened in a dramatic manner. It was six weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus and after his resurrection appearances followed by his departure from earth to be with God. Jesusí followers gathered in the huge temple courtyard on the day of a major religious feast. People had come from every region of the Roman Empire for the celebration. On this day, Jesusí followers were transformed by Godís Spirit from frightened and confused people to bold and courageous public speakers. They began telling people in the crowd what God had accomplished through Jesus and what he had taught about loving and caring for others.

 

Then the leader of Jesusí followers, Peter, got the attention of the whole crowd and gave a speech. He told them about the life of Jesus and how he had been shamefully executed even though he had done nothing wrong. He reported that God had brought Jesus back to life and to heaven. He explained that through Jesus we are invited into a relationship with God as our heavenly father.

 

Those who listened to Peter were shocked and disturbed by this news. They asked questions regarding what to do in response to this information. Peter told them to: (1) turn to God and end their separation from God, (2) become baptized, and (3) receive Godís: (a) forgiveness, (b) acceptance into Godís family as spiritual sons and daughters, and (c) the presence of Godís Spirit deep within connecting them to God. Approximately 3,000 people became followers of Jesus on that day and the church was born by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

General Principles

When we become followers of Jesus, we join all those who follow Jesus today as well as all who have followed Jesus during the past two thousand years. This group of Jesus-followers is called ďthe churchĒ. It was born six weeks after the execution and resurrection of Jesus. It grew rapidly from Western Asia into Africa and Europe. It spread across the Silk Road into Central Asia, South Asia and eventually into East Asia. It reached China by the 6th-7th centuries, fluctuating in size during the following centuries. Today, followers of Jesus can be found everywhere on earth and come from every ethnic group. In the absence of Jesus as the visible presence of God on earth, the presence of God is now visible through Jesusí followers, who are deeply connected with God through Godís Spirit within them.

 

Personal Application

When you follow Jesus, you are not alone in your relationship with God because you belong to Godís worldwide family. Whenever Christians are able to gather together to worship God and learn about growing spiritually, they do so. But in many times and places throughout history, there have been obstacles that prevented gathering with the church. If you find yourself in such a situation, remember that you always belong to the church when you belong to Godís family by following Jesus. Ask God to bring other Christians into your life, individually or as small groups. But, regardless of whether you are able to connect with other Christians or not, focus on growing in your relationship with God, loving and serving God by loving and serving others.