A New Life for New Disciples

Acts 2:43-47 contains a summary of the days immediately following the eventful Pentecost when Christ fulfilled His promise to His apostles that He would not leave them “orphans”. He would send the Holy Spirit who would be their “Helper” in the awesome task He’d given them: carrying the gospel into all the world. In addition to the advent of the Spirit; the apostles were privileged, at long last, to be part of the kingdom which they had so long expected and longed for, and of which they were set in as part of (1 Corinthians 12:28). From Pentecost onward the kingdom will be spoken of in the present tense, except in those occasions when the writer has heaven, the eternal kingdom, in mind.

Three thousand souls gladly received the message of the gospel in which forgiveness of sins, a future resurrection, and a heavenly abode is promised to faithful believers. And in joy and peace which immediately followed that number of saints who gladly received the apostles’ words and were baptized; those souls were together and had all things common; they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart because, at the first these early disciples found favor with all the people (Acts 2:47). This latter would change, of course, and Christians would be hated and persecuted just as their Savior had been. But until that time came these Christians could bask in the knowledge that, through the blood of Jesus their sins had been washed away and to know the sweet, earthly fellowship which was a foretaste of that fellowship which awaits all the saints when finally, with a resurrected body (the nature of which we know not, but are comforted by God’s assurance we shall be like Him, 1 John 3:1-2), we are able to converse with all the saints of ages past: Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter and Paul and countless millions more who alike have heard the Father’s joyous words “Welcome Home”!

Now the apostles could see God’s wisdom in His selection of Pentecost as the day when the gospel of His Son would be preached for the first time: the day in which Jesus sat down on the Father’s right hand to begin His reign which continues until now. The apostles were concerned about the Kingdom of God and doubtlessly with the dauntless task of going into all the world to preach His gospel. Little did they realize that God, to help them in the task assigned to them, “brought the world to them” in part, for Jews “from every nation under heaven” were in Jerusalem that day and were hearers of the message Peter preached (Act 2:5). Without doubt, some among that multitude would return to their homes as citizens of that kingdom which was “not of this world” (John 18:36), or if they had not responded that day to Peter’s charge “repent ye and be baptized”, their hearts would have been partly prepared for later messengers who would come to their far away homes to preach God’s message there.

The response of 3,000 souls to be baptized was not a “one-time occurrence” for “the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Such even continues today for still God “adds to the church daily those that are being saved”.

The “favor with all the people” would not last forever. Dark days lay ahead for these saints. They would, in days to come, be persecuted, hated, and killed because they were Christians. However, the discerning ones among them, whose faith would not be shattered because of their sufferings, could look beyond earth’s sorrows to heaven’s joys. They could, with Paul, consider that the sorrow of present time was not worthy to be compared with the glories which would come (Romans 8:18). It was of such a contrast that Paul also said, “Wherefore we faint not, for though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day; for our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at things which are seen, but at things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Jim McDonald