On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus' resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place.
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting.
Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.
And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Godly Jews from many nations were living in Jerusalem at that time.
When they heard this sound, they came running to see what it was all about, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were beside themselves with wonder. "How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee,
and yet we hear them speaking the languages of the lands where we were born!
Here we are -- Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,
Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya toward Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism),
Cretans, and Arabians. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!"
They stood there amazed and perplexed. "What can this mean?" they asked each other.
But others in the crowd were mocking. "They're drunk, that's all!" they said.
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, "Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.
Some of you are saying these people are drunk. It isn't true! It's much too early for that. People don't get drunk by nine o'clock in the morning.
No, what you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel:
'In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy.
And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below -- blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon will turn bloodred, before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' "
"People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.
But you followed God's prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to the cross and murdered him.
However, God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life again, for death could not keep him in its grip.
King David said this about him: 'I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will give me wonderful joy in your presence.' "
"Dear brothers, think about this! David wasn't referring to himself when he spoke these words I have quoted, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us.
But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David's own descendants would sit on David's throne as the Messiah.
David was looking into the future and predicting the Messiah's resurrection. He was saying that the Messiah would not be left among the dead and that his body would not rot in the grave."
"This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this.
Now he sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God's right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.
For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, 'The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.'
So let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!"
Peter's words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"
Peter replied, "Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles -- all who have been called by the Lord our God."
Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, "Save yourselves from this generation that has gone astray!"
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church -- about three thousand in all.
They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.
And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had.
They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need.
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity --
all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.