Everyone has a birthday, but did you know that the Church has a birthday? When Jesus lived on earth He kept telling everyone to get ready for His kingdom, but He also warned that His kingdom was not going to be like the one Israel had had before, it was not going to be like the Roman Empire they were being ruled by, it wasn’t even going to be like any kind of kingdom that had existed before. This kingdom would be made up of all the people around the world who worship Him. Pieces of the Kingdom would exist in every country on the planet.
When Jesus went back up into heaven He promised His friends He would send them the Special Helper. Jesus had told His disciples to take the good news about Him to the whole earth…and He was about to give them the battery power they needed to get started.
They went back to Jerusalem which was very crowded with people celebrating a holiday called Shavuot, or Pentecost.
People from all different lands had all come to Jerusalem, all speaking different languages. Some of them were Israelites. Some had parents or grandparents from Israel who had moved to other countries. Some came from countries and families that worshiped statues, but had chosen to become Jewish followers of God.
But Jesus’ followers were gathered together, avoiding the crowds, instead of spreading the good news. Suddenly they heard the sound of very loud wind. It looked like fire sat on each of their heads and made them speak in different languages.
Everyone was surprised. Even though all the disciples were from the same place, they were speaking languages from around the world.
They went out into the streets and everyone was amazed to hear their language being spoken by people from Israel. Some people wanted to know more, but others just made fun of the disciples.
Peter stood up and explained to the crowd that it was God who had given them the power speak in all these languages. He told everyone that God the Holy Spirit had come down and would live in the hearts of everyone who believed in Jesus. Peter gave everyone two instructions:
1: Ask God to forgive your sins
2: Get baptized.
Thousands of people believed in Jesus and had the Holy Spirit guiding them in their hearts. In one day, the followers of Jesus went from a few dozen, to a few thousand. Jesus’ Kingdom, the Church, had been born. And what an exciting birthday it was!