We get another look at the daily lives of the new church from Luke. He brings us the daily call that went out to those in need. This is the “body building” time of the church.
The custom was to go to the temple every day at specific times to offer prayers. The apostles were led to continue this practice, for some time at least. But while at the temple they engaged in more than just prayers. They engaged in what we would call evangelism. They stood and proclaimed the gospel to any who happened to be there and would listen. And there were a LOT of people who did listen!
The apostles were well known in town and their works had become renown throughout the area. Our lame beggar was just the tip of the iceberg. “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles” (verse 12). All kinds of healings and deliverance from bondage were daily occurrences. Even Peter’s shadow was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and people sought to simply have it pass onto them.
In our world today this would have resulted in some VERY swelled heads and extreme merchandising. But not so with the apostles. Not once did they claim ownership of the power operating through them. They gave full credit to Jesus. They preached in His name the forgiveness of sins and salvation. They sought no glory for themselves “but the people held them in high esteem” (verse 13). They were honored for their closeness to Jesus and because they brought HIS words to the people. They were also sought after by everyone, including all the nearby towns, for the working of miracles being done in Jesus’ name. THEY were not worshiped or allowing others to worship them. All honor and glory was returned to Jesus.
I find it comforting in our reading where the teaching was taking place. Luke tells us that they were in Solomon’s Portico. I love them being there because of the audience they could reach from there. Solomon’s Portico was on the outer edge of the Court of the Gentiles. ANYONE could come into this court. You didn’t have to be Jewish. This meant that anyone was able and welcome to hear the words of Jesus; Jew, Greek, men, women, slave or free. It didn’t matter. “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (verse 14)
From the very first sermon both Jews and Gentiles were hearing the gospel and that never changed but the venue would later on. For now the focus was primarily Jews but because of the placement of their speaking platform they were reaching any who were searching for God. That would have been their reason for being in the temple to begin with.
Father God, it is interesting how You included the Gentiles from the very beginning without making it obvious. You gather ALL men to Yourself. By prompting the apostles to take up that convenient position You included those who would otherwise have been left out. Funny how You did that. I wonder how many of the new believers were Gentiles during that exponential growth period.
Thank You Jesus too for keeping Your apostles pointing directly to You as the source. It would be so tempting to take the glory for oneself in such situations but You had molded their hearts so well during Your time together that this didn’t ever become an issue. I can’t say it never entered their minds because only You know the answer to that, but they kept pointing to You in spite of the temptations. Please help me be like them in this area too. I don’t do ANY of the works they were part of but sometimes I wonder how much credit I’m taking for the words You are sharing. I want to reach the same breadth of audience they were for You and maintain the same focus on the Author that they did. I would love to hear how Your words are impacting others for YOUR glory and Kingdom, but even if I never hear from a single soul, I will keep pointing Your way each time we come together. Thank You for letting me be even a small part in Your reaching others with Your word. Help me with the words to say in person too when asked to account for the gospel.