32Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
The second Sunday of Easter concludes Bright Week. For a long time the church has celebrated especially important festivals in octaves of eight days—same as an 8-note octave in music.
Easter is 50 Days – 7 x 7, a week of weeks. The Day of Pentecost is the 50th day of Easter.
Every year on Easter 2, we hear the account of Jesus bestowing the Holy Spirit on Easter evening from John 20:19-31.
Although Jesus taught, demonstrated God's presence, and provided other evidence of the Reign of Heaven (Kingdom of God, sovereignty of God, etc.) during his earthly ministry, he still needed to show and teach and tell his followers more, because during that first part of his earthly ministry he hadn't yet been killed by imperial forces and raised from the dead. The approximately forty days between Jesus' resurrection and his ascension are especially important for us because Jesus calls and in the power of the HS enables us to be his crucified and risen presence in the world after his ascension. Jesus doesn't ask us to do anything he hasn't already done!
We need to keep in mind that we have written scriptures that include the four canonical gospels. However, those books within the big book of the bible didn't get written down until decades after Jesus, so his disciples' scriptures still were what we refer to as the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. People were in process of writing down stories and accounts of Jesus' ministry. The communities and individuals that brought us the four gospels drew upon scrolls or sources in compiling their accounts. Those writings partly came from the dynamic, fluid, oral tradition with its narratives that typically changed and morphed some in order to fit a particular context. Rather than being the kind of rote recitation we aim for when we memorize poetry (or a passage of scripture!) everyone told, retold, interpreted, literally incarnated and embodied Jesus in and for particular communities, times, and places.
6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The Revised Common Lectionary that gives us our scripture readings assigns portions of the Acts of the Apostles during these Sundays of Easter, showing the style and substance of the post-resurrection, post-pentecost church. The approximately forty days between Jesus' resurrection and his ascension are especially important for us because Jesus calls and in the power of the HS enables us to be his crucified and risen presence in the world after his ascension. Jesus doesn't ask us to do anything he hasn't already done!