2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
In between appointments and as I was able yesterday I read as much as I could about these verses. As expected, opinions and commentaries varied widely but as I compared Scripture with Scripture a clear picture emerged. First of all they didn't live together in a commune or any such thing. As we see in verse 46 they met from house to house. In several other places in Acts and other New Testament letters we find plenty of evidence that believers owned homes.
So what does Luke mean by them being together and having everything in common? What does he mean that they sold their stuff and gave the money away? The key is "as anyone had need". Again comparing Scripture with Scripture Paul later wrote that "you don't work, you don't eat". The context there being that if you are able to work but refuse out of laziness or whatever you are not to be supported by your fellow church members. Need is the key.
The beauty of what Luke is describing is that a deep sense of connectedness arose in the early Christian Church. Do you remember Cain's response when God asked him where Able was? He said "Am I my brother's keeper?"
When the mind and heart of God fill us under the influence of His Spirit we come to the clear realization that we are our brother's keeper. I remember several years ago I was hiking by myself and reflecting on Scripture and trying to listen to His voice. As I was walking and thinking and listening a clarity came to my mind that I will never forget. Every human being is a child of God. They may be a child in rebellion. They may be a child in confusion. They be as unlovable as can be yet they are His. For me to ignore them, hate them, dismiss them, or treat them in any kind of negative way is a direct hurt against God. "Whatever you have done for one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me." - Jesus
These first followers of Jesus grasped this profound truth right away. They remembered how Jesus crossed borders, ignored cultural divides, ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners, treated women with a dignity and equality rarely if ever seen etc... In a word His love poured through them to each other and as the Bible teaches - generosity starts at home.
So in summary they didn't open a commune or establish a compound nor did they get rid of all their stuff. What they did do was use the means they had to ensure the needs of all were met. That kind of selfless love is the true mark of His followers.
"They will know you are My disciples if you love one another as I have loved you."