“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”~Acts 2:22-24 ESV
I heard Peter preach during Pentecost (Shavuot), as He stood in an upper room in Jerusalem. His big voice boomed out, saying amazing things, words which ultimately changed my life and the life of my husband.
I could hardly believe this was the same boy who grew up in Capernaum alongside my cousins. He was outspoken in a boisterous kind of way, but I never imagined he would one day speak to crowds with such authority. Peter’s voice was filled with conviction, and he was bold in what he was saying about this Jesus he had left his fishing business to follow.
Our family visited relatives in Capernaum every year. The lake was practically in their backyard, so when we were children we enjoyed going down to the waterfront early in the morning to watch the fishermen mend their nets and get their boats ready to go out for the day. Peter, who was called Simon back in those days, was often there helping his father, a fisherman. I remember seeing him talking with the other fishermen and helping them during the times he did not have to work with his father. He had seemed such an ordinary boy back then.
So here was Peter, all grown up and talking about Jesus, and standing with the others who had also followed Jesus. He was saying things we had never heard before. Never even imagined. If these things were true, then we needed to pay attention to what Peter was saying.
As he continued to speak, the crowd grew. It was made up of local people, as well as those who had traveled to Jerusalem for Pentecost. There were many who listened to Peter and were amazed, because they heard Peter speak in their own language. We knew Peter, and as far as we knew, he did not speak in foreign tongues–but he did that day. He had grown up on the Galilean Sea. Some of the crowd thought Peter and those with him were drunk.
But here was Peter, preaching boldly and saying, “Let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:14b-15 ESV).
He went on to tell them what had been prophesied by the Prophet Joel, how in the last days God’s Spirit would be poured out on all flesh, even on Gentiles.
Peter was saying, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24 ESV). My heart burned within me, and I fell to my knees in tears. I knew I had heard the truth about God, and I desperately wanted what Peter had. My husband stood over me with hands raised, as he cried out to our Heavenly Father, “Oh my God, my God! Forgive me. Please!”
We were not the only ones who were cut to the heart hearing Peter’s words. Many others who were standing there cried out to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter told them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord calls to himself” (Acts 2:38b-39 ESV).
Not only did my husband and I receive salvation, we were baptized in water, and it is said over three thousand souls were added to God’s kingdom that day. Just imagine! Those who were from foreign parts had this good news to take home with them.
The church of Jesus Christ was born that day, and those new believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. The Lord added members to His church, daily. The angel, on the night of the birth of our Messiah, had told the truth: He did come for all people, not just for the Jews. Even Gentiles are joint heirs with our Lord. Praise be to God.
Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
Heavenly Father, I want to be a son/daughter of Your church. I accept the free gift of salvation Jesus Christ purchased for me by dying on Calvary’s cross. I acknowledge He rose from the dead, victorious over death, hell, and the grave, and He did this for me so I can be free in Him. I confess Jesus Christ’s blood payment is supreme, and I confess Him as my Lord, my Savior, and my soon-coming King.
Genre: Biblical fiction
Copyright 2021: The Birth of the Church: Evelyn Mason Wells: All Rights Reserved