Earth Became Like Heaven



Scripture: 

Acts 5:12   Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. 16 A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Observation:

The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and their behaviors began to replicate those found in Christ. They were performing the signs and wonders that Jesus had performed while he was here on earth. They went regularly to Solomon’s Portico and publicly preached and spoke to the people. Not wanting to act too interested some wouldn’t come near, but overall the mood of the people was positive toward the apostles. Finally, there would be those who would simply leave the opinions of the world behind and join with those who were following Christ. 

The power of the apostles was in contrast to that of other “magicians” of the day. Just as Jesus healed the sick, so did these, his Spirit-filled followers. Chrysostom tells us, “Earth was becoming like heaven, for their way of life, boldness of speech, wonders, for all besides. Like angels were they looked upon with wonder. They were unconcerned about ridicule, threats, perils. They were compassionate and beneficent.” (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles 12) Somehow this presence of the Holy Spirit created a scenario in which the kingdom of God was breaking into the kingdoms of this world. As a result, ordinary people were offered a glimpse of heaven on earth. 

Application:

Spirit-filled believers are to walk in such a way that they participate in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who provides the possibility for our fellowship with the Triune God. In this fellowship we begin to take on the characteristics of those with whom we spend time. If we are hanging out with our friends and loved ones — we will be like them. We will begin to take on the characteristics of the group and people will recognize that we have been in their presence.

When we intentionally spend time in the presence of our Lord, we will begin to take on the characteristics of Christ. The kingdom of God will be revealed through our behaviors and activities. We will no longer reflect the world, but the things of heaven. 

The apostles were completely absorbed with following God. There was nothing of greater importance in their lives and everything that they did, day in and day out reflected this commitment. The Holy Spirit did the empowering.

Christ calls us to this kind of radical obedience. The Holy Spirit hasn’t changed from those early days, but our nearness to the kingdom and total participation may have. Earth becomes heaven when we participate, both individually and corporately in holy fellowship wth God. Participation in God is transforming and empowering. 

The apostles, little by little, took steps of faith until there came a moment of complete, or entire participation through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost changed everything and from that time on earth was a bit like heaven. 

Prayer:

Lord, please help us these days to participate in your kingdom every moment and every day. Amen. 


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