42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
They Devoted Themselves
To be ‘devoted’ sounds like a heart thing. In the 21st century the heart sounds like the seat of emotion, so how does one devote oneself? A week’s worth of pep talks in front of the bathroom mirror? Our heart is often attuned to pleasures and often divorced from our mind. We let our emotions react to stimuli that the world throws at them and then we react.
Verse 42 demands that we be proactive. It dedicates new disciples to discipline. They understood that there was a new way of life to be built and that it was constructed around key concepts. Looking at Acts 2 in its entirety, Peter takes onlookers from criticizing the disciples about drunkenness to orienting life around Jesus. If Jesus is the new converts’ focus, teaching, breaking of bread, and prayer are the means to take us to him. Teaching is the teaching that Jesus gave to the disciples as he trained them into apostles. We have this teaching written down for us in the four gospels. It is more than a reiteration of Jesus’ words, it was a communication of Jesus’ life. The breaking of bread in this context means more than a regular church service, it means doing life together. Prayer includes liturgy like The Lord’s Prayer, but it grows. Prayer is dependent communication with God.
Converts need feeding. I was once told – “Find. Fold. Feed.” Find the unconverted. Fold them into the church. Feed them spiritual sustenance. The early church was a place of all three. We see them in this passage. A Christ centered community sprang up. Hunger for Jesus could only be satisfied by these disciplines, but when one had fed all day, one only wanted more. The Christian life is one of alignment. Life must be aligned with Jesus. We naturally stray toward self-fulfilment and self-focus, but the apostles taught people how to live for a higher cause. This was something of the heart, but the heart is the seat of commitment not of whimsical emotion. We understand a vision and then we keep it before us. Our vision is life with Jesus and lived for God.
There is a harmonizing of all things that starts with harmony with you, Father. As I align my life with you, my whole house aligns with you. I fear that things will be worse because of prayer and Bible study. I think that you will allow a dull life to seep in if I orient everything toward you. However, I am committed to you and I find a deeper awareness of the world coming to me. There is less striving and more being. In the fellowship that exists around me let my life be an indication of your reality. May life as you see it make people see the greater reality under girding the details of the physical. All of life is one and the one-ness is in Christ. Let us be one and let us be focused on one purpose. Eliminate our disunity and create peace. For your glory, Amen.
- To what did the disciples devote themselves?
- What had just happened?
- What were the results of the disciples’ devotion?
- How would you describe someone who is ‘devoted’?
- To what are you devoted?