The real beginning of the history of the Church, is the
feast of Pentecost of 30 AD On the tenth day after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus
Christ, His disciples, His Mother, some other holy women and some of those Jews
who came to believe in Him, (about 120 in all) were gathered in a home on mount
Zion. As was usual, they were spending their time in prayer and in awaiting the
promised Holy Spirit, when all of a sudden there was a noise from heaven as of
rushing wind that filled the whole house where they were. And there appeared
tongues of fire that spread out and rested on each person. And they were filled
by the Holy Spirit and began to converse in other languages.
This day was the Jewish feast of the Pentecost
that commemorated the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.
Because of this there were many people in Jerusalem from different lands. When they heard this unusual noise
in the air, they started gathering near the house where the apostles had been.
They were surprised to hear, each in his own tongue, the wonderful works of
God. "And they were all amazed . . . saying one to another, 'What meaneth
this?' Others mocking said, 'These men are full of new
wine.' But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said
unto them, 'Ye men of Judea and all ye who dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and hearken to my words. For these
are not drunken as you suppose, seeing it is but the
third hour of the day [nine in the morning according to our time]'" (Acts -16). The time of fulfillment of the prophecies had come,
when the Spirit of God would come down on those faithful to Him. "Ye men
of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you
by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did through Him in the midst of you,
as ye yourselves also know - Him, being delivered up in accordance with the
established plan and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands
have crucified and slain. But God hath raised Him up, having loosed the pains
of death, because it was not possible that He should be held" (Acts -24).
These words of Peter, suggested to him by the Holy
Spirit deeply moved the people, and on that day about three thousand people
were baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such was the beginning of
the spreading of the Gospel, that through the apostles and their disciples it
first spread throughout Judea, and then throughout the world.
From the time when the Holy Spirit passed over the
apostles like "a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind" (Acts
2:2) and when "there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire, and it
sat upon each of them" (Acts 2:3), they became different people. Those,
who had just recently ran in fear from the garden
of Gethsemane, now began a world-wide bringing forth of the Gospel. They
were not to be stopped by threats, torture, or death. They were followed by
ever new generations of witnesses and martyrs for Christ. Mighty rulers armed
against them, philosophers opposed them, great temptations were put in their
path - but crucified, burned, perishing in the arenas of gladiators, they stood
firm in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Troubling waves of false Christians,
unworthy pastors, false teachers and dissenters crashed over them - but nothing
can destroy the Church of Christ. In the words of our Divine Teacher:
"I will build My churchand the gates of
hell will not prevail against it" (Matt.16:18).