The Acts of the Apostles is not about what each of the twelve apostles did. Rather, it’s about the growth of the church which spreads from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth– Rome. Once in Rome, the author of Acts would say, you’re everywhere, which is where Jesus wants his church to be.
Two eyewitnesses–the apostles Peter and Paul–are the main figures among the twelve that chart the church’s passage to a worldwide position. They’re the principal eyewitnesses who interact with “the community of believers” in Acts.
The eyewitnesses and the community of believers belong together, vital parts of the same body. The first chapter of Acts offers an example of their interaction. Peter proposes to the crowd of early believers (about one hundred and twenty of them, Acts says) that someone take Judas’ place among the eyewitnesses. On their part, the community proposes two candidates; they pray; lots are cast and Matthias is chosen. (Acts 1,12-26)
Clearly, the community is involved in the growth of the church. They’re not passive listeners to the eyewitnesses’ message, but they participate in the work, they rejoice in it, they offer their own witness and experience. Hardly a passive flock.
Another example of their interaction is the story of the release of Peter and John from the custody of the Jerusalem authorities. (Acts 4,23-31) “After their release Peter and John went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord” and ratified the activity of these two apostles with extensive praise.
It ‘s more than just backing them up. The apostles can’t function without “the community of believers.” Neither can the community of believers function without the apostles. Together we form a community of believers.