After Pentecost, Luke shifts the narrative to a general description of the inner life of the church in Jerusalem. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, NKJV). The four items noted appear to be basically teaching and fellowship. According to verse 46, the teaching was carried out in the temple, while the fellowship was in private homes.
The temple court was surrounded by roofed porches that were frequently used for rabbinic instruction. That the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching shows that the gift of the Spirit did not lead them to a contemplative religion but to an intense learning process under the apostles, whose authoritative teaching was authenticated by wonders and signs (Acts 2:43).
Spiritual fellowship was another distinctive mark of early Christian piety. The believers were constantly together, not only in the temple but also in their homes, where they shared meals, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and prayed (Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46). By having such daily celebrations, the early Christians expressed their hope in Jesus’ soon return, when His fellowship with them would be restored in the Messianic kingdom (Matt. 26:29).
Private homes played a key role in the early church’s life. The believers still attended the temple’s daily ceremonies (Acts 3:1), and on Sabbaths they presumably were in the synagogues with their fellow Jews (James 2:2), but the distinctive elements of Christian devotion were performed in homes.
Believing that the end was near, they decided that their material possessions, “private property” (to use a more up-to-date term), were not that important anymore. A common use of their material resources, therefore, seemed appropriate. There was no reason to worry about tomorrow, as the Messiah Himself would provide for their needs in the Messianic kingdom (Luke 22:29-30). This sharing allowed them to experience a deeper sense of unity, besides becoming an extraordinary example of Christian generosity.
|How generous are you with what you have been given from the Lord?|
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons