Jn. 14:25, 26; Acts 2:1-47
On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus had promised the apostles that they would receive a Helper, the Holy Spirit. He would teach them and remind them of the things that Jesus had said to them while He was with them.
Ten days after the ascension of Jesus, on the Day of Pentecost, (the first day of the week or Sunday) the apostles were assembled at the temple. This had been their daily practice since the ascension.
Suddenly there was a great sound, like a mighty wind (like a tornado?), and divided tongues that looked like flames of fire sat upon each of the apostles. They began to speak in foreign languages. The promise of a Helper, the Holy Spirit was being fulfilled as they were being baptized of Him.
Pentecost was one of three feast days required of all Jews under the Law of Moses. On this occasion, there were multitudes of people from many surrounding countries at the temple in Jerusalem. They were startled and amazed that these men from Galilee were speaking in a way everyone could understand their words.
Peter, as had been promised earlier, with the keys of the kingdom in his hand, began to unlock the doors of that great institution. He explained that this was the fulfillment of the prophet Joel.
At this point, Peter began to preach the greatest gospel sermon ever heard. He introduced Jesus of Nazareth and explained how God had sent Him to live among men and to perform miracles and many other wonders and signs that they might know Him.
Peter reminded them that with lawless hands, they had crucified the Son of God and that He had been raised from the dead. He concluded by stating, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
This was too much for the people to endure. They had been convicted and convinced of the death of the Son of God. Being cut to the heart, they called out to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Jesus had explained the new birth to Nicodemus many months earlier. These people had heard Peter preach the gospel and they believed that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. They confessed their faith as they asked what to do. Peter replied, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Peter’s answer for salvation was different than any answer ever given before. This day was the first day of the Christian dispensation and all spiritual laws prior to this time were fulfilled—nailed to the cross. The law of Christ was now in effect.
Those who obeyed Peter’s command were born again—not a physical birth, but a spiritual birth. The importance of baptism in water was made very clear as these people submitted to the act that Jesus had explained to Nicodemus when He described being born again. As a child is added to a physical family when he is born, a new child of God is added to the spiritual family of God when he experiences the new birth. About three thousand souls were baptized that day and added to them. The church of Christ was established!
These new converts met daily in the temple and from house to house. They were learning and also teaching their friends about their salvation. The church was spreading like a wild fire and the many souls who were being saved were added to the church daily.