And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was on them all.
This expression may refer to the measure of Divine favor resting upon the early disciples; or to the favor which they found among men, who could not fail to see and admire the spirit of "self-sacrifice" which was exhibited by what they were doing. We dwell on the former of these references. More grace, fresh grace, greater grace, rested on them after the imprisonment and deliverance of their leaders. We are to understand that the holy fervor manifested by them at this time was not accounted for by such things as the incoming of wealthy members or the multiplying of their numbers, but by the increase and enlargement of the "grace that rested on them. Great grace "is ever the one secret of great spiritual power. Looking at the incidents connected with the text, we observe -
I. THIS WAS NOT THE FIRST BESTOWMENT OF GRACE. Recall the scene of the Pentecost. Show in what sense that may be spoken of as the first coming of the Spirit. Explain why that coming was attended with outward signs, and why the presence of the Spirit is not now manifest in such miraculous gifts. The "grace" in us may be as great - may be greater - though the attendant signs and expressions differ. Show what are the first signs of" grace" working in us. Signs in thought, feeling, conduct, and relations. Illustrate by what is said of Saul of Tarsus: "Behold, he prayeth."
II. THAT FIRST GIFT OF THE SPIRIT WAS WELL RECEIVED AND USED. This may be illustrated in the earnestness and zeal of the apostles, as well as in the active, devoted, and zealous life of those converted under the apostolic teachings.
III. BECAUSE WELL RECEIVED AND USED, MORE GRACE WAS GIVEN. The further grace enabled them to suffer nobly and well; to testify for Christ even before governors and kings, and to pray together and live together and work together, in loving union and mutual forbearance, and charity. And so we come to apprehend afresh God's great and ever-working law, expressed in the familiar words, "To him that hath shall more be given;" "We are not straitened in God;" "Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord," etc. God's grace is indeed "free," sovereignly free, but he has been pleased to set it under conditions; and one of the chief conditions is that we shall have used wisely and well the grace already received. To those who are faithful in using grace the promise applies, "He giveth more grace." Then, if we feel the need of and long for "great grace," let us see that we deal rightly in response to the leadings and movings of the grace we have. Empty the vessel in service for others, and God will be sure to refill it. Trim the lamp, and let its light shine brightly all around, and God will be sure to replenish it with abundance of fresh oil. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.