These all with (a)one mind were (b)continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the (c)women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with (d)His brothers.
Continually Devoting Themselves to Prayer
v.14 (a) one mind- ὁμοθυμαδὸν, homothymadon- a group of people all having the same agenda and purpose. This word is used eleven times in the new testament; ten of the eleven by Luke in the book of Acts.
Luke begins to show the mindset, the behaviorism, the mentality of these early Christians with words like one mind, continually devoting themselves, all things in common, fellowship (koinonia).
Luke is describing the oneness of the body of Christ that Paul details in his epistles, Eph 4:1-5. 2:13-22.
(b) continually devoting themselves- προσκαρτεροῦντες, proskarterountes- attach oneself to, persist, be faithful; to walk in the Spirit constantly; always having communication with the Father in all things.
This one Greek word is translated by using three English words, “continually devoting themselves.” It is a present verb tense portraying an action with no assessment of the action’s completion. Thus the English word continually is used to describe that these Christians had started a good thing and more importantly, were continuing in it.
This is what Paul meant by praying without ceasing, 1Thes 5:17. Live in Him and abide in Him always.
Get off the starting blocks and finish the race
One of the facts of life is it is easy to start something but hard to finish it; whether that is starting a project around the house, starting a new diet, getting into a new hobby or endeavor. Whatever the case may be, it is always easier to start something than to follow it thru to completion. This is true with Christianity as well. This is why Paul says we must press on toward the goal of the prize of the high call of Christ Jesus, Phil 3:14. Paul is constantly comparing the walk of Christian life as a race; and unfortunately, some Christians never get off the starting blocks, 1Cor 9:24-27. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you will make in your life, but it shouldn’t stop there. Once you are reborn into God’s family, you are called a Christian, one that is like Christ. This should be our goal, our main motivation for life; to please Him in everything we do, honor Him by being like Him, know Him and learn His likes and dislikes. The only way to know this is to spend time with Him. Involve Him in everything you do and read His word because it is life unto all that find Him in it, Prov 4:20-22.
Once you start to do this, you will find yourself pulling away from the world and worldly things that used to mean so much to you, and now the most important thing in your life is Jesus. This is running the race of life as a Christian. A Christian should not “blend in”, but rather be a light to the world. We are to let our light shine before men that they will see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, Matt 5:16, Phil 2:15. This is easy when your light leads them to Jesus, but there are those in the world who like the darkness and hate the light, Jn 3:19-21. Therefore they will hate you and revile you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you. So what should we do when this happens? Rejoice and be glad! For great is your reward in heaven, Matt 5:11-12.
There are plenty of Christians who never stand out and just blend into the world. They go along with their everyday lives, still doing the same thing as the world, and trying to fit Christianity into their busy lifestyles. This is a Christian who never gets off the starting blocks. In the end, if they believed that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, they will be with Jesus for all eternity, but they will have missed out on the true joy of life of getting to know Him and participating in His plan.
An imperishable crown given to the faithful
This is what Paul is so urgent over. He is not scared of losing his salvation. So what does he mean when he says “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”, 1Cor 9:27. Disqualified from what? From salvation? Or what is meant when he says “in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead”, Phil 3:11? Is he scared of not being resurrected and spending eternity with Christ? God forbid. He knew his salvation was secure, but there is obviously something else that is driving him. What is this urgency about Paul that he must attain? It is the reward of knowing Jesus. He is constantly driven by the need to know Him and to gain Christ; to finish this race of life well that the Father would be glorified in him, Phil 1:9-10, 21, 3:8-14, Col 1:5, 9-11.
Paul knows that when we spend eternity with Jesus, we will not all be equal. The status of our future with Him depends on the decisions we make while on this earth. In 1Cor 9:27, the thing he did not want to be disqualified from was the imperishable crown given to the faithful; and In Phil 3:11. He had an unquenchable desire to attain the resurrection of the dead. This is the first resurrection John describes in Revelation 20:4-6, and he could be referring to the resurrection at the rapture, the catching away of the saints. Only those that are faithful will be taken up with Him. Paul did not want to miss that event and we should all strive like Paul to attain to this joyous life in Christ.
We are all a part of the body of Christ, but to be the bride of Christ is only reserved for those faithful to Him. This is also determined by our actions and decisions and our desire for Him on this earth. For more on this topic, see my study notes called “the Bride of Christ, and elect group of Christians” at: http://www.insightoftheking.com/the-bride-of-chirst.html
v.14 (c) these are the women who supported Jesus in His ministry, Lk 8:1-3, 23:49, 24:1-11.
v.14 (d) Finally, His half-brothers believe in Him. According to Mark 6:3, Jesus had four brothers born of Mary and Joseph; James, Judas, Joseph and Simon. Up until the resurrection, His brothers did not believe in Him, Jn 7:5. There was a strong tension of illegitimacy hanging over that family for 30+ years. Many people believed that Jesus was born out of wedlock; making Him the illegitimate son of Mary, Jn 8:41. His brothers despised Him and didn’t really understand Him until Jesus appeared to James, His brother, after the resurrection, 1Cor 15:7. This one encounter turns James into a believer and he becomes the leader of the Jerusalem church, Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18, Gal 1:19. He also writes an epistle of the New Testament, the book of James.
Judas is also converted and becomes an outstanding member and a representative of the Jerusalem church. He travels back with Paul to Antioch from the Jerusalem council meeting as a representative of the church, Acts 15:22. He, like James, also has an epistle in the New Testament, the book of Jude.
There is not much said about His two other brothers, Joseph and Simon, but the fact that they are in the upper room shows that they had a change of heart as well.
Four things Christians should be continually devoting themselves to
1) the apostle’s teachings- this is the word of God spoken and inspired thru these men of God. Peter even says in his second epistle, “we have the prophetic word, made more sure”, 2Peter 1:19. This word of prophecy is the word of God that we hold today. It is more sure than God the Father speaking down from heaven or from any angel that might have a word from above. In any case, the word of God is final authority, and everything must be cross examined and scrutinized by the word of God.
2) fellowship- the act of sharing in the activities or privileges of an intimate group.
This is the Greek word koinonia. Used 19 times in the New Testament and only used in accordance with Christians in fellowship, sharing and having participation with each other. It is a special bond that we have in the body of Christ; so special, in fact that this word is also used for the same fellowship we have with Jesus, 1Cor 1:9.
We, as Christians, are the body of Christ; urged to be one with God and each other, Eph 4:1-16, Jn 17:20-23.
3)the breaking of bread- this is not necessarily the Lord’s Supper, but it can be a part of this fellowship. This Greek word is only used one other place in the Bible; it is used when Jesus broke bread with the disciples in Emmaus after the resurrection, Lk 24:35. It was at this point that their eyes were opened and the disciples realized it was Jesus.
4) prayer- communication to the Father in the name of Jesus. It is thru Jesus, our great High Priest, that we can now come boldly to the throne of grace, hold fast to our confession and find help in a time of need, Heb 4:16. This was the plan of reconciliation for man; that he would be redeemed from sin, able, thru the Son, to come talk and fellowship with God Almighty directly.
The veil into the holy of holies was torn in two and we now have direct access to the Father thru our Lord and High Priest, Jesus Christ.