Easter 4 • Acts 2:42–47 • May 11, 2014
By Bruce Schuchard
So those who heard and received in faith the testimony of Peter on the day of Pentecost were all that day baptized, all three thousand of them (Acts 2:41). All were added to the communion, to the fellowship, of the saints. And so “they devoted themselves” not only to “the apostles’ teaching” but also to its κοινωνία (2:42), to the conviction that theirs was the gracious gift of a sharing, of a common participation, in the things of a singular and extraordinary household and family: the household and family of our heavenly brother, whose own Father in heaven above is therefore also our Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, to this and on account of this they devoted themselves in all things and in every way for the common good, as one of course would, as one of course should. For that is what household and family is; that is what household and family does, or at least should do. For that is what they knew themselves to be: a heavenly household and family at the table of their heavenly householder in the communion of “the breaking of the bread and the prayers” (2:42). “And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles” (2:43), so that all might be given to see the glory and the wonder of their restoration, their oneness, in Christ.
And so all who believed were and remained quite naturally and quite regularly together. All who believed quite naturally and quite regularly shared κοινός (all things in common) (2:44), as would, as should, the superabundantly blessed persons of a singular household and family. And their joy and their generosity in doing so was as one would expect it to be amongst those who know themselves to be united by God’s grace as the singular household and family of the creator of the cosmos. “And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (2:45). After all, what else was there for any of them otherwise to do? What did they in such blessed communion in any way lack (so thus to hold back?), in blessed communion with a beloved Son whose own communion was and is with the God and Father of us all? Therefore, they did only that which seemed infinitely natural. In blessed communion with one another, they acted as would, they acted as should, all who know that what they have is not their own. In blessed fellowship with one another, they were exceedingly, they were joyfully, generous with one another as beloved brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, of the one who loved us first.
Therefore, day by day they continued together in worship. Day by day they gave and they received, they shared, in everything, not just in the breaking of the bread and of the prayers of the Table of Our Lord but also in the very sharing of their homes, in all that they had, “with glad and generous hearts” (2:46), receiving one another as one would receive a beloved brother or sister, for that is what they knew themselves to be. Therefore, on account of this their manner of giving thanks and praise to God, they were held in favor by all the people, as one again might expect.
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (2:47), and continues still to do so from “every nation under heaven” (2:5). May the Spirit-wrought conviction of those who have been added still be that of those who thus were so, for Jesus’s sake.