Seeing Jesus Today (Acts 2:42-47)

Journey with Jesus to ... Resurrection! (Easter Thursday, April 21)
Read Acts 2:42-47

Fifty days have passed since Easter morning. During the first forty days following his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples at various times and in various places. In each case, he explained the meaning of his death and resurrection (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46), and commissioned them to tell everyone the Good News ( 24:47-49). 

Ten days ago, Jesus ascended to his throne (Acts 1:9-11), and today (the 50th day) his disciples were filled with his Spirit (2:1-4). This is the day Peter preached the first Christian sermon (2:14-40) to a magnificent result: three thousand people were baptized into the family (2:41). 

What a fantastic start to the Jesus movement! Two months ago it appeared that the disciples had given their lives to a lost cause. Now they find themselves teaching several thousand people what it means top follow Jesus. 

What was it like to be in that first Christian community? We are not left to guess, for Luke gives us a close-up view of it in the text we read today (2:42-47).

Like most pastors, I’ve preached a lot of sermons on this text. But only recently did I realize how closely connected it is with the story of Jesus’ conversation with the couple on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). You remember it, don’t you? After all, we read it only three days ago!

We saw in that story that Jesus was revealed to Cleopas and his companion in the teaching of the Scriptures, in the breaking of the bread, and in the fellowship of the believers. Consider how closely this aligns with the summary statement we find in Acts 2:42: “They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Clearly, Luke wants his readers (and us, by extension) to see the importance of these characteristics in the life of the church. He realizes that it is through the disciplined application of these practices that the Risen Jesus makes himself known to his followers. All of which challenges us to ask ourselves a very important question: to what degree do – or will – these characteristics find expression in our lives, and in the life of our church family?

We are nearing the finish line of a rewarding spiritual adventure. Together, we have made our way through the Gospel of Luke. For my part, it’s been a blessing to reflect on each daily scripture reading with you. I hope it’s been of help to you, too.

But what happens next? What will you do to continue this path of spiritual nourishment and growth? You can do no better than to follow the wisdom of today’s text (and Monday’s). Make scriptural teaching, breaking of bread, fellowship with believers – and prayer – an integral and non-negotiable part of your life.

The Apostles’ Teaching: Become a student of the Scriptures, and equally important, find a church where the Bible is taught.

The Fellowship: Commit yourself to your local church, and then learn to love them like family.

The Breaking of Bread: Re-live the Gospel through the Eucharist as often as possible.

The Prayers: Spend time every day in prayer — The Lord’s Prayer is a great place to start.

“Lord, thank you that you continue to reveal yourself through your Body, the church. Thank you for my church family. As I devote myself to the teaching of the Scriptures, the fellowship of believers, the breaking of bread, and daily prayer, I ask that you will help me -- and the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ --  to grow to maturity in our relationship with you.”