Stained glass window in a gothic church

The 120 in the Upper Room at Pentecost… hard to believe

Hard to believe

Just before he ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from God. There were 120 people waiting. That number is hard to believe…for two reasons.

How small it was

Jesus was the sinless God-man. He fed thousands, healed many, and raised people from the dead. He appeared to 500 at one time after he rose from the dead. Even so, there were only 120 and, when he gave the Great Commission, some who saw their risen Lord doubted. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Matthew 28:17)

How quickly it grew

Secondly, from that small number the growth was remarkable. 3000 were added the first day and it quickly grew to 5000. The rest of the book of Acts tells the story of how the Church grew from Jerusalem through Judea, Samaria, and then quickly to the rest of the Mediterranean world. (Acts 1:15; 2:41; 4:4)

Jesus taught about this

Jesus has said that the Kingdom would start out small like a mustard seed and work invisibly like yeast. He also said that there would be unbelief even if someone rose from the dead. He also said that his disciples would do greater works then he did. (Matthew 13:31-33; Luke 16:19-31; John 14:12)

Peter warned people about this

Near the end of his life Peter told his readers to not count on experiences but to focus and follow the written word of God. He had been at the Transfiguration and heard the voice of God from heaven but the Scriptures were surer. (2 Peter 1:16-21)

It will happen again in the future

In the end times Jesus will return and reign for 1000 years as the Messianic-King. His reign will be perfectly just and fair. He will know all and have unlimited authority. Satan will be bound and unable to tempt those living in this kingdom. However, when he is freed the people will rebel. Even a perfect government does not guarantee faith. (Revelation 20:1-10)

There are no perfect experiences that guarantee faith.

God has chosen to work through Jesus’ followers empowered by his Spirit to change the world by the message of the Gospel and the witness of godly lives.

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