THE PEOPLE OF THE WAY

Opening Prayer

I am so thankful, Father, for the love you pour out in abundance for me and for the knowledge that you go before me in everything I do.

Read ACTS 2:37–47

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

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.

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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.

Meditate

Hear this story as though for the first time.

Think Further

In both his gospel and in the book of Acts, Luke tells the story of Jesus and the birth and spread of the movement of his followers within the broad historical context of the first century. This means that the dominant power of the Roman Empire is frequently visible, and the consequences of its policies in the suffering, hunger, and poverty of many people is the background to the miracle of Pentecost. This passage records the response of the crowd to Peter’s preaching (vv. 37–41) and the emergence of the new community of disciples who create a way of life together in sharp contrast to that of the world around them (vv. 42–47).

It is important to remember the connection between Acts and the story of the life and teaching of Jesus which Luke has provided in his gospel. When we are told that the three thousand people who were swept into the kingdom of God ‘devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching’ (v. 42) we may be sure that this instruction centered on the life and ministry of Jesus, which was deeply engraved in the memories of the women and men who had recently witnessed it. The radical nature of this community, illustrated by their love for each other and by their selling their possessions and sharing with the needy, was a response to Jesus whom they confessed as Messiah. The experience of conversion and the gift of the Spirit resulted in the imitation of Jesus, so that, throughout the book of Acts, the members of this community will be identified as the people of the ‘Way.’1 How great is the challenge of this story for professing Christians today, living in a world dominated by the love of money, where the gulf between rich and poor grows ever greater! Peter’s exhortation, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation’ (v. 40) remains as relevant as ever.

 

Apply

Pray for the renewal of the church, that it might again become the people of the Way.

Closing prayer

Lord God, form in me a heart that is overflowing with joy and generosity and give me hands that are quick to act on that overflow.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by kingstar

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