42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Following His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and reminded them that He would leave again, but this time, the Father would send the Holy Spirit. Jesus commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until the Father fulfilled His promise (Acts 1:4). Sometime after that, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and enabled them to speak different languages. The apostles boldly declared in the streets that God had sent Jesus, who had been crucified, as the promised Messiah.
For reference, Jews from all over the world had gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. Each person present heard the good news in their own native language. Roughly three thousand responded to the message and were baptized—which leads us to where we find them in today’s passage—“…devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.”
The new believers hungered for more. They listened to those who had walked by His side and earnestly sought to know this Jesus on a deeper level. But the author also notes that the group gathered and “devoted themselves to the fellowship.” They broke bread together, enjoyed meals together, and prayed together. They shared life together, encouraged one another, and challenged one another.
The new believers remind me of friends from my last semester of college. I found myself balancing three part-time jobs, attending school full-time, while also attempting to fit in the occasional sushi night with friends. I studied in the early mornings alone in my apartment. However, in the days leading up to a big exam, I met at the campus library with a group from my class to talk through material together. We would quiz each other, read over our notes, and work through difficult problems we thought might be on the test. Even though I had spent hours studying alone, nothing could replace the times we spent reviewing, joking, and encouraging one another.
My friends were not necessarily people whom I would have encountered in my normal day-to-day activities, but our common need to pass the exam brought us together—similar to the members of the early church. They did not come from the same town or necessarily even speak the same language. But their common need for a Savior brought them together in Jerusalem and bonded them in a way that is only explained by the power of the Spirit.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Are you currently in fellowship with other believers? If so, reflect on what this has meant to you and thank God for the opportunities you have had to encourage one another. If not, consider what might be keeping you from fellowship with others.
- Now think about expanding your circle of influence. Who has God placed in your life that you could encourage in the faith? Do you have new neighbors looking for friends in your area? What about the coworker who is searching for a Bible study group? Consider how you might be called to open your heart and life to new people.