And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
There was unity of spirit and unity in open manifestation to the world at large. Christ's disciples, when they received the gifts of heaven's choicest blessings, were not split up into dozens of different organisations, each of them hostile to the others, and each striving to aggrandise itself at the expense of kindred brotherhoods. They had keenly in remembrance the teaching of our Lord's great Eucharistic supplication (John 17:21). There was visible unity among the followers of Christ; there was interior love and charity, finding expression in external union which qualified the disciples for the fuller reception of the spirit of love, and rendered them powerful in doing God's work amongst men. What a contrast the Christian Church presents to this now! There are some persons who rejoice in the vast divisions in the Church; but they are shortsighted and inexperienced in the dangers and scandals which have flowed, and are flowing, from them. It is indeed in the mission field that the schisms among Christians are most evidently injurious. When the heathen see the soldiers of the Cross split up among themselves into hostile organisations, they very naturally say that it will be time enough when their own divergencies and difficulties have been reconciled to come and convert persons who at least possess internal union and concord. Then, again, these divisions lead to a wondrous waste of power both at home and abroad. If men believe that the preaching of the Cross of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, and that millions are perishing from want of that blessed story, can they feel contentment when the great work of competing sects consists, not in spreading that salvation, but in building up their own cause by proselytising from the neighbours, and gathering unto their own organisation persons who have already been made partakers of Christ Jesus? And if this competition of sects be injurious and wasteful within the bounds of Christendom, surely it is infinitely more so when various contending bodies concentrate all their forces, as they so often do, on the same locality in some unconverted land, and seem as eagerly desirous of gaining proselytes from one another as from the mass of paganism. Then, too, to take it from another point of view, what a loss in generalship, in Christian strategy, in power of concentration, results from our unhappy divisions! The united efforts made by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Greeks, are indeed all too small for the vast work of converting the heathen world if they were made with the greatest skill and wisdom. How much more insufficient they must be when a vast proportion of the power employed is wasted, so far as the work of conversion is concerned, because it is used simply in counteracting and withstanding the efforts of other Christian bodies. How different it was in the primitive Church! Within one hundred and fifty years, or little more, of the ascension of Christ, and the outpouring of the Divine Spirit, a Christian writer could boast that the Christian Church had permeated the whole Roman empire to such an extent that if the Christians abandoned the cities they would be turned into howling deserts. This triumphant march was simply in accordance with the Saviour's promise. The world saw that Christians loved one another, and the world was consequently converted.
(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.