Now that we have seen where the word church is first mentioned in the Scripture and how Jesus defined this new program, let’s fast forward about a year from Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16. The disciples are not in Caesarea Philippi but in Jerusalem. Jesus is no longer with them but He has died on the cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to the Father. Before He left His disciples, He told them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who will indwell them (Acts 1:8).
In Acts 2, we find some 120 men and women waiting in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit comes. Luke tells us that “there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind…and there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:2-3).
After the Holy Spirit filled each individual, they became witnesses for Jesus Christ in Jerusalem as described in Acts 1:8: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses….”
This new movement spilled out in the streets of Jerusalem and the disciples began sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We find an exemplary model of their witness in Peter’s message in Acts 2:14ff. Peter, who just a few months prior had denied Christ, now stands before the Jewish people and proclaims the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
After Peter delivers his first sermon, Luke tells us that 3000 souls were saved (Acts 1:41). What’s happening? Jesus is building His church as He predicted in Matthew 16. I find this fascinating! 3000 people were saved and added to the body of Christ! No committees, no programs, no ministries, no youth groups, no church building, no church constitution or bylaws, no board of leaders, no lead pastor, no Awana program, no Sunday school. Nothing but the message of Jesus Christ!
Just as Jesus said: “I will build My Church!”