Monday, 6 December 2021
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, Acts 2:46
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
The previous verses spoke of the new believers having everything in common, and of the people selling their goods and possessions, and then dividing up the proceeds among one another. With that noted, and implying it is a reason the people could gather daily, the words now state, “So continuing daily.”
Because of having sold all their possessions, the believers could remain together as a group, even after the end of the pilgrim feast. Normally, people would come to the feasts, spend time in the presence of the Lord, and then return to their homes in order to return to their employment. Whether it was working in the fields, working as a potter, or doing whatever else they once did for their livelihood. In essence, the believers had come to live out an almost permanent festive celebration.
The instructions for the attendance at the pilgrim feasts are stated several times in the books of Moses. The particular instructions for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) are noted in Deuteronomy 16 –
“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.” Deuteronomy 16:9-12
Because of the enormity of what occurred, and because of the marked change in the people who had come to this feast, they were so converted that they kept the spirit of the feast going, even after it had ended. This attitude was found in all the believers who continued together “with one accord.”
There was a unity of purpose and heart among the believers because of their faith in Christ. It is the same attitude that has been seen, such as in Acts 1:14, and it will be seen several more times (where the same Greek word is used) through Acts 12 when referring to the faith and unity of these early believers. For now, it is a unity of mind that was on display “in the temple.”
The disciples would gather there openly to consider the wonder of what God had done in Christ. It is probably at this time that they began to ponder the larger picture of what their history had been leading to and how it was actually all a typological anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.
The Passover celebration that they had observed year by year would have taken on a whole new meaning to them. The Day of Atonement would suddenly stand out in a whole new way. And so on. There must have been an overwhelming sense that they belonged to a people that had served a greater purpose than they ever could have previously imagined.
In this state of amazed joy, they were not only in the temple daily, but they were also “breaking bread from house to house.” The Greek reads “at home.” The words are then set in contrast to “in the temple.” When they weren’t at the temple, they were at someone’s home. Wherever the believers dwelt, other believers would come and sit over a meal, symbolized by the breaking of bread that would set the tone for the meal.
Bread would be brought forth, a blessing would be made, and then bread would be broken and passed around. This is seen in all three synoptic gospels, such as in Mark 8 –
“So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. 8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.” Mark 8:6-8
Once the bread was brought forth, blessed, and broken, “they ate their food with gladness.”
One can think of the complete joy of knowing they had become a part of what God had been preparing since the fall of man. Step by step, He was working in the world as it led to the coming of Christ and toward the restoration of all things in Him. These early believers were sensing the glory of God in a way that probably stunned their senses from moment to moment.
Each time someone brought up a story from their Scriptures, they would probably talk about it and how it actually was leading to Jesus. As they ate their meals, they would be filled with gladness in the Spirit that their eyes had been opened to these marvelous things. Luke next notes that this state would be combined with that of “simplicity of heart.”
Here is a word found only this once in Scripture, aphelotés. It means “not stony ground.” As such, it is that which is simple or plain. There is nothing complicated to the eyes or to the feet when walking, and thus the steps are unencumbered. The term “purity of heart” would give a good sense. There is nothing complicated in it, there is nothing uneven or difficult in it.
As such, there would be no concerns or worries. No matter what arose during the day, the people would acknowledge it as being within the will of the Lord. In other words, “If the Lord took everything that we know of our part of human history, and He organized it so meticulously that we can see Jesus in every detail, then He must be guiding our lives for a good purpose, even if difficult or bad things happen along the way.”
The story of Joseph would have taken on a completely new meaning in their minds. The exile to Babylon would begin to make sense, the raising up of good kings, and the failings of the bad kings would be understood more clearly. The story of Ruth and that of Esther would suddenly call out to them in a completely new way. There would be no stony ground in their hearts because they could see the world with eyes that had never seen such wonder and glory before.
Life application: There are people who have been Christians for many years, or even for all of their lives – having come to know Jesus at young ages – and yet, they have never taken the time to dive into Scripture and search out its treasures. But at some point, they decide to start listening to sermons from the Old Testament, and they start to realize that everything there is about… JESUS.
In this realization, they start to hunger for the word as they never had before. Not only do the Old Testament Scriptures start to make sense, but the New Testament starts to take on a completely new tone. This is because they see that the Bible is one united whole, all telling the same story – slow and progressively revealing what God is doing in Christ.
With this new appreciation, their faith finds a stronger footing than it ever had before, and their lives take on a new calmness that they had never experienced. “If God had everything so carefully structured in the past, certainly my life is being carefully handled as well.” With this new attitude, the trials, pains, and woes all seem less troubling. A new reliance on Christ is realized, and a surety in salvation is more fully appreciated.
If you have not pursued God’s word to its fullest, start today. The sermons from the Superior Word will help you in this. Start with Genesis 1:1 and just keep on going. There is treasure in this word. Forget the TV shows! Get into the word!
Lord God, help us to not squander our time, but to focus on You and on Your word now… while we can. Surely our lives will be more grounded if we do this. So, help us to pursue this path. Give us the heart to cherish this word all the days of our lives. Amen.