All over the crowd, the truth was dawning on one after another – the miracle-worker who had been crucified truly was Messiah. The shock was palpable. Eyes widened as jaws dropped open and nervous hands covered trembling hearts pierced by unseen arrows. The dismay at once gave rise to a question: something must be done, but what? What would avert God’s retribution for the rejection of His Messiah?
In anguish people grabbed hold of the apostles and begged them, “Brothers, what shall we do?” It was another of those moments when Peter just overflowed with the Holy Spirit, and didn’t even have to think about the response that came tumbling out of him:
“Go beyond where you have been until now, and find a new mindset. Be baptised, immersed in water, every one of you, to be freed from your shortcomings. And you too will receive this Holy Spirit. Because this promise isn’t just for us few. It’s for you, and for your children, and for anyone who is far away from God – it’s for everyone whom God is calling to Himself.”
That was only the beginning of what he said. He carried on, making it quite plain what they needed to do. Concern was etched all over his face and gave gravitas to his words as he made his appeal to them: “Save yourselves out of this twisted generation.” Those who were willing to listen and accept the truth of what he said were baptised, and about three thousand joined the followers of Jesus that day.
From then on their lives revolved around the teaching that the apostles gave them, and around becoming a community bonded in love, around breaking bread and praying together. Life in those days in the community of believers was lived in a perpetual state of amazement. Miraculous and astonishing signs done by the apostles became the norm. They lived close by each other in community, and shared all their belongings between them. If anyone was in need, people sold something that belonged to them and used the proceeds to meet that need.
They gathered every day in the temple courts. They broke bread together in each other’s houses, and as they ate, the joy and the sincere love between them was evident to all. Their days were passed in praise to God, and their little community was highly regarded by the whole of society. And every day they grew in number, as God kept bringing more people along to join them, people who had found salvation in Him.