April 16, 2021
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
- Acts 4:32-35
With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the disciples and the followers of Jesus Christ were greatly emboldened. As a result, the church abounded with new believers. Following in the example of Jesus, the disciples went about healing, teaching, and preaching in the name of Jesus. In fact, Peter and John had just healed a man born lame (Acts 3:1-10). As people saw this man, they were amazed at the power that had been given to Peter and John.
Peter, however, was quick to redirect the bewildered people away from him and John to the person of Jesus Christ, the one whom they had handed over to death. Many more came to believe in Jesus through this healing and the testimony of Peter and John. Just as the authorities had been threatened by Jesus, so now they were threatened by the followers of Jesus. Peter and John were arrested for speaking in the name of Jesus. Instead of praying to be freed from those trials and accusations of the authorities, Peter and John prayed for even more boldness to proclaim the kingdom of God. These truly were transformed men by the Holy Spirit!
As the apostles continued to build the kingdom of God, there was an amazing thing that happened among the believers as reported in today’s reading. They came together in unity; they shared their earthly goods; and they helped one another so that no one was lacking. It was a clear demonstration of a love that cares for one another. This sharing was done out of their hearts and desires; it was not a mandated sharing. This is no picture of communism or socialism, but rather it is love in action. Many people among them had lost their work as they put their trust in Jesus Christ. Those who worked for the Sanhedrin no longer could; those who served in the temple were no longer welcome. There were needs within the church, and there were those with the resources to help.
This is a beautiful demonstration of what the body of Christ is intended to look like. Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). We are called to take on that mindset of Christ (Phil. 2:1-7). Christ is seen and glorified when his people come together, care for one another, build up the church, and serve those in need. Is that what our churches look like today?
For us to live into this example, we must follow the example of Peter and John and be transformed people. We must also be emboldened in our testimony and our work for Christ. May we be inspired by this example of the early church so that we may also demonstrate what it means to live in the love of Christ. Reflection:
How could you better follow this example of the early church? What step will you take today to serve someone in need?
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