One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Acts 4:33. The reason why is because the power of the Spirit was moving in such a mighty way, proving that Jesus was truly the Son of God. The Spirit was unveiling Old Testament Scriptures to the apostles that foretold of Jesus death and resurrection—something they did not understand prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Thousands of people were getting saved, the lame were being healed, and undisputable miracles were taking place. It was the infancy stage of the church, and God was making it very clear to all that it was Him at work and not men. Nobody could deny it was God, by His Spirit, proving the reality of Jesus, and doing the impossible.
What makes Acts 4:33 so special is that Luke (the writer of the book of Acts) attributed everything that God was doing to “great grace” (my emphasis). He could have limited it to “great power” or “great might” or “the Spirit of God was upon them all”—all of which were true, but he felt led of the Spirit to call it “great grace was upon them all.”
God’s grace is something we cannot earn, merit, or work for. His grace is always a free gift. Jesus and His work at Calvary was and is the embodiment of God’s grace. All of God’s grace comes through simple faith in Jesus, His death for our sins, and His resurrection. Grace can also be defined as unmerited favor, God’s gift when we deserved a penalty, God’s riches at Christ’s expense, divine and unmerited assistance, and God’s goodness given to undeserving people. Everything we need to be saved and sanctified is found in God’s grace. This includes victory over sin, our own flesh, the world, and the Devil. In His grace is found all the benefits of Calvary, including the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s true that at this stage in the church, there was so many more details of the new covenant that the church did not know yet. But progressively the Spirit would reveal to them these truths fulfilling the words of Jesus to the apostles in John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Spirit would ultimately use the apostle Paul to explain the new covenant in a way the apostles never saw coming.
The reason why great grace was upon the early church was because their faith was so pure, their motivations so innocent, and their focus so determined. Their faith in Jesus, His death, and resurrection was so pure. It was only in Jesus, His death, and resurrection. At that time, their hearts were consumed with Jesus. As well, their motivations were so innocent, like a child’s. All they wanted was Jesus to be seen, to be glorified, and to be believed.
This is brought out in the words of Peter to the multitudes after the lame man was healed: “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
“And His (Jesus) name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:12, 16).
Finally, their focus was so determined. This is seen in Acts 4:5-31 when the Sanhedrin “severely threatened” Peter and John to never speak in the name of Jesus again. What did Peter and John do? They spoke in return and said, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
There is such a need for the same great grace to be manifested in our individual lives, our churches, and the world. Let this be a challenge to every believer to have a faith in Jesus and His Cross that is pure, motivations that are innocent (not mixed with any selfish agendas), and a focus that is determined to see Jesus and His finished work at Calvary, seen, glorified, and believed. Then I believe we’ll see and experience His great grace!