THE BEGINNINGS OF CHRISTIANITY

AD 30–70 Acts; The New Testament Letters

The movement started by Jesus did not come to an end with his death. On the contrary, within ten years it had spread far beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land; within twenty years it was established in Rome and Alexandria.

The Pentecost Pilgrims.
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

This expansion would never have begun if Jesus had not risen from death and appeared alive again to many of his disciples. Because of this they shared what is called the resurrection faith, but this faith depended on the fact that Jesus really had risen.

A few weeks after Jesus’s crucifixion, some of his followers in Jerusalem spoke publicly to a crowd of pilgrims who had come from all parts of the Roman Empire for the feast of Pentecost. They announced that Jesus had not only risen from death but had been exalted by God to be ruler over the whole universe and that he had given them the right to offer forgiveness of sins and the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God to all who confessed him as Lord.

An increasing number of people did so, and formed a community of believers in Jesus – mainly in Jerusalem but also in some other centres in Judea. The leaders of this new movement won popular good will by performing acts of healing such as had marked Jesus’s ministry and also by attending the temple services regularly and by keeping the Jewish religious rules. In fact, they observed them more closely than their Master had done.