But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
I used to teach in a large boys’ school right in the middle of the City of London. Whilst there, I took on the running of the Christian Unions, which was a real privilege, because it was a unique opportunity to teach young people about Jesus, but also because the boys were very receptive to listening to and talking about ideas. It was still at times hard work to entice students to come along, so I used to provide food. At the end of each term we had a party, in which we had extra food, which usually brought in crowds and crowds. The school had a large number of Jewish students, and on one occasion I witnessed the interesting sight of seeing Jewish boys arguing over whether Prawn Cocktail crips were Kosher or not! Once we had given out copious amounts of free food, the boys settled down to listen to a talk based on a passage of scripture.
The food might have been the important bit of the meeting to the boys, but to me the crucial element was also the Bible teaching, and this is something that the apostles firmly believed too. Throughout Acts, we see larger and larger numbers of people joining the early church, and the principle reason for this is always the faithful teaching of the message, which works in people’s hearts, challenges their beliefs, and ultimately convicts them of their sin and leads them to follow Christ. Here in this verse, in only the fourth chapter of the Acts, we see the number of followers growing to 5,000, quite a sizeable number for such an early stage of the apostles’ mission, especially considering the relatively small population of Jerusalem at that time. Luke believes that the principle reason for this is because of the preaching of message, which led people to believe in Christ.
We must never miss an opportunity to share the Word of God with people. Grasp every opportunity that you have to do just that in the week ahead.