As I have been meditating on Acts 4:32-37, I noticed the huge emphasis on the believers’ generosity towards one another:
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
In the middle of this passage is, I think, the spark that ignited this spirit of generosity: “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (v.33). But that connection isn’t exactly clear. How does the resurrection produce generous people?
To see this I had to go back through the previous chapters of Acts. As I read the apostles’ (mostly Peter’s) witness concerning the resurrection, I recognized four main points regarding Jesus’ resurrection that I think ignited this generosity:
- Jesus’ resurrection loosed the pangs of death (2:24). Therefore, people do not have to live and hoard from fear of death.
- Jesus’ resurrection confirmed him as the exalted Lord (2:33, 36), Christ (2:36) and Savior (4:10-12). Therefore, we can find our sufficiency in Christ and not in things.
- Jesus’ resurrection calls all who rejected him to repent and believe in him (2:37-38, 3:14-15, 19, 26). Therefore, we can be delivered from all of our sins, including the sins of greed and covetousness.
- Jesus’ resurrection makes the Holy Spirit available to all believers (2:33, 38-39). Therefore, we are joined together and empowered by the Spirit to love Christ and others.
- Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the restoration of the kingdom (1:6-7, 3:19-21). Therefore, we can let go of the things of this world in hope of the indestructible kingdom to come, where Christ rules.
May the resurrection continue to draw hearts away from this world, that we may cling to Christ and his kingdom, as seen in our generosity towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.