Meditation for Monday
And in those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty). Acts 1:15
How many of Jesus’ disciples can you name without looking it up in the Bible? It helps if you learned those names in the Sunday School chorus ‘There were twelve disciples’. And if you were to do your naming at the time of today’s text, you would be able to eliminate the name of Judas Iscariot, eleven in all. But our text speaks of 120 or so names; I am sure you can’t name all of those! Where did the extra 109 come from? And what is the importance of all those extra people?
Consider the situation, which was only days after Jesus had departed and gone back to Heaven. He had instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, Who was to come and empower them to be witnesses for their Lord. They had no idea what was going to happen, or even when. Then did not know much of anything about the Holy Spirit and how He was to with with them. They were still afraid of the Jewish leaders, and kept out of sight as much as possible. But the group grew in size, as those who were faithful to Jesus and who had believed the account of His resurrection gathered themselves together for comfort, encouragement, and expectation. We know who some of the additional people were, of course. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there, and Mary Magdalene, and other faithful women who had served Jesus faithfully. Devoted followers such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were probably there, and possibly Nicodemus and other people who had received Jesus’ message gladly. Although nicely larger than just the handful of disciples, 120 people doesn’t sound like many to launch a message that would transform the world. Especially when they had no idea how it was to happen! But God used the little company mightily, as we find out in the rest of Acts. And God uses little companies today in amazing ways.
How large a company would it take to turn your town upside down like the disciples did to Jerusalem? The company that Peter was addressing in today’s text had severe limitations until the Holy Spirit was given. You and the others in your Assembly have no such restrictions. In fact, you have the entire Bible from which to preach the Gospel and to teach believers. Including the example of these disciples. If God could use such a skittish, disorganized group like the one Peter was addressing, He can surely use companies of faithful believers today.
As we consider the relatively small group that Peter was speaking to, and what transpired as a result of their obedience, we can surely grasp the potential of the little groups that gather to the Name of the Lord Jesus today. -Jim MacIntosh