Opening Prayer

Thank you for your Word, Father; use it to inspire me in new ways to serve you, my church, and my community.

Read ACTS 4:32–37

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Be aware of the real challenge of this text.

Think Further

This is the second time that Luke has highlighted the unity of the first believing community of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem and stressed the economic dimensions of discipleship. Two things should be noticed.

First, the text must be understood in relation to the memory of the explicit teaching of Jesus concerning wealth and possessions. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit enables the disciples both to recall Jesus’ words and to do as he instructed. Many in this community would have been eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and may have heard the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ in which he pronounced blessing upon the poor and warned of judgment on the rich.1 The radical teaching of Jesus surprised his disciples and left them asking, ‘Who then can be saved?’2 However, after Calvary and Pentecost, ‘great grace was upon them all’ (v. 33, AV), with the result that they were able to practice the manner of life together which Jesus had demanded – and so they became known as the people of the Way.

The second thing to notice is that it was precisely the countercultural character of this community which, according to Luke, attracted attention and resulted in the growth of the movement. In an unjust and deeply divided society the community described here appeared to outsiders to suggest that the kingdom of God really was becoming a reality, challenging the reign of mammon (wealth) and presaging a new and different world of love and justice. Alas, in modern times many Christian commentators attempt to evade the challenge of this text, but the health of the global church may depend on whether or not it can rediscover the economics of the kingdom of God.


Where are you led to respond to the radical teaching of Jesus?

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to make my life one that overflows with your love so that others might experience it and be drawn to you.

Last Updated on May 29, 2024 by kingstar

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