There were times during the ministry of Jesus when it appeared that the Apostles were not always united. In fact, at times they seemed to be in competition with one another when James and John’s mother came to Jesus asking that they should be given a special place in the kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). Jesus settled that competition by saying “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant), and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your minister (servant). Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister (serve)…” (Matthew 20:26-28). There were other times such as when Jesus and some of the Apostles were with him after his resurrection and they ate bread and fish together (John 21:10-14). It was at this same time that Peter seemed to be a little jealous regarding Jesus’ relationship with John, and Jesus finally said “What is it to you? Follow me” (John 21:22). In spite of the human situations that the Apostles might have had with one another there was the day when they together demonstrated their unity for the cause of Christ.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come…” (Acts 2:1) was the day that the Apostles were united, and everyone knew it. It was on that day that “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4) and the Apostles began to speak in languages that they had not studied, “as the Spirit gave them utterance (the ability to speak)” (Acts 2:4). The ability of each Apostle to speak in a language that he had not studied was amazing to Jews that had arrived to Jerusalem from at least sixteen different places where each had their own language. The places mentioned in the record are as follows: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontius, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rom, Crete, Arabia, etc. As the Apostles began to speak in these many languages there were two basic reactions. It seems that the majority of the people reacted as the record says, “An they were all amazed…” (Acts 2:12), but “others mocking said, ‘These men are full of new wine’” (Acts 2:13). It was to this reaction that the Apostles demonstrated for all to see their unity as Apostles of Jesus Christ and preachers of the gospel.
The record says, “But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them…” (Acts 2:14). As the gospel began to be preached in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost the Apostles were united and everyone could see it as they stood together. These were the men that Jesus had personally selected (Matthew 10:1-4), and these were the men that had received the great commission to go into all of the world and preach the message of salvation (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16), and these men would stand together and later that day see “about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41) respond to the gospel in faith and be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38,41). They Apostles stood together as the Lord’s church began to grow in Jerusalem and even be persecuted, and they stood together when they had to discuss difficult issues facing the church (Acts 15). The Apostles would continue to stand together in mind and heart even though at times separated physically. They would stand until each one of them had passed from this earth life, and as the revelation of Jesus says, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13)
The works and example of the Apostles lives on and the message of the Apostles continues to stand even into the twenty-first century as the Lord’s church continues “steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine…” (Acts 2:42). The Lord’s church in the twenty-first also stands with the Apostles as they stood together on the day of Pentecost as the church adheres to the inspired doctrine of the Apostles. It is a unity that transcends the centuries and that which is found in the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).