THE ASCENSION ACTS 1; 6-11
The ascension in this context refers to the manner in which Jesus was taken to heaven. After appearing for forty days, Christ was with apostles in Jerusalem. They asked him about the time that God would restore the Kingdom to Israel. Jesus made them realize that God Himself is the only one who knows the time and the season, not human beings.
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He told them that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon them, they will be witnesses to him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the world. When he finished his address, he was taken up to heaven. As they gazed into heaven, two men stood by them in white robes testified saying that this same Jesus who is taken up into heaven will come in the same way as they saw him go into heaven.
- It marked the promise of the Holy Spirit which was fulfilled during the Pentecost. The Holy Spirit gives guidance in evangelism.
- The way Jesus ascended into heaven is the same way he will return. It opened the eyes of Christians as to the manner of Jesus’ second coming.
THE PENTECOST ACTS 2; 1-41
The word Pentecost is derived from the Greek word for “fifty”. It was another name for the Jewish Feast of weeks which took place exactly fifty days from the Passover Feast. The Apostles (120 people) prayed fervently for ten days and waited patiently for the Holy Spirit. When the apostles were praying, there came a sound as of a mighty rushing wind and it filled the whole house. Then, there appeared tongues as of fire which rested on each man’s head and they all began to speak in different tongues as the spirit gave them utterance. That sound attracted a great multitude that was in festive mood.
Significance of the Pentecost
- Christians today should help to continue in spreading the gospel to every part of the world.
- The Pentecost marked the beginning of the church.
- It brought a special and different power and courage with it which gave the apostles great boldness to preach.
- The Pentecost marked the beginning of aggressive evangelism which is still in progress to day.
PETER’S SERMON AND THE CONVERSION
The people that came to Jerusalem as at that time were on pilgrimage. The sound of the Holy Spirit attracted them. Some of them accused the apostles of drunkenness as they heard the apostles speak many languages. Before long, a large crowd had gathered. Peter used that opportunity to preach the gospel of salvation of Christ. He explained to them that what they were experiencing was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the coming of the Spirit on all people in the last days.
Peter told them that the same Jesus crucified by the Jews, who rose again, was the person who was then fulfilling the promise of the Holy Spirit which all were experiencing. So many were touched, so much so that they asked Peter what they were to do. Peter replied “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall received the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to that entire are afar off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:38, 39). Altogether, about 3000 people repented at the Pentecost, were baptized and were added to the Christian community.
The promise of God never fails even today. The power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians makes them to bring multitude to Jesus. The miracle of speaking in tongue symbolizes the universality of the gospel. In conclusion, we need the Holy Spirit to live a successful Christian life.
African Moral Values Introduction