Tuesday 03 May 2011

Bible Book:

"Now the whole group who believed were of one heart and soul ..." (v. 32)

Acts 4:23-37 Tuesday 3 May 2011


The background to today's passage is the healing of the lame man(Acts 3:1-10), Peter's sermon (Acts3:12-26), the imprisonment of Peter and John and the court casethat followed (Acts 4:1-12). The people were amazed both at thehealing which had taken place and at the preaching of untrained laypeople. Peter and John were threatened by the Sanhedrin to not tosay anything else and released. Our passage takes us from thembeing discharged: naturally enough they go to their friends, wheretheir first action was to pray.

The prayer they offer (vv. 24-30) is a remarkable insight into thedevotion of the members of the early Church as reflected by Luke(the writer of Acts as well as the Gospel that bears his name). Godis addressed as sovereign (v. 24): they see the difficulties withthe Jewish leaders as part of a bigger picture and do not take itpersonally. This is why in verse 28 they quote Psalm2:1 and claim help and find comfort.

The effect of the prayer was remarkable as the room that they werein shook as if in an earthquake. (We read of similar events inExodus19:18 and Isaiah6:4.) Scholars say that this would have been regarded as adivine response to prayer. The disciples receive a fresh fillingwith the Holy Spirit to enable them to bear witness on lateroccasions.

In verses 32-37 we have a summary of the life of the early Church.It stresses the common mind and generosity of their life together,but we soon read that all was not perfect with this group (Acts5:1-11). Barnabas is given special attention he will appearlater as a Christian leader (Acts11:24), known for his goodness. Certainly a 'person ofencouragement' is a wonderful strap line for any of us.

To Ponder

To what extent are we shy of praying together asChristians at times of thanksgiving? Why? What do you think we cando to overcome any timidity?

What do you learn from the cameo of the earlyChurch in verses 32-37? How might it you put this intopractice?

How can you develop the gift of encouragement inyour life and discipleship?

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