The Advent Part 19
Acts 1:13, “And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.”
After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples all lived under one roof in Jerusalem. Perhaps it was a rented home so more of them could be in one place, perhaps it was the home of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark, perhaps it was the house with the upper room in which Jesus celebrated the Passover. Although we cannot be sure of whose home the Disciples of Christ gathered, we can be certain of two things. First, we can be certain that they in fact made it home, and second, as we will see later in this chapter, this upper room where they were gathered was large enough to hold no less than one hundred and twenty people. As was customary both in Jewish and Greek culture, homes had one spacious room, most often called the upper room wherein people gathered, most often to hold religious services.
The notion of the upper room was by no means something new, but rather it can be traced back as far as the prophet Elijah while he tarried in Zarephath.
1 Kings 17:19, “And he said to her, ‘give me your son.’ So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.”
An upper room is also mentioned within the context of the prophet Elisha, and in Judges and in Daniel it is referred to as a private chamber.
It is in the upper room that the disciples spent countless hours with Jesus, and they had done it so often that it had become customary to them. The minute they left the Mount of Olives, they returned to the most comforting place they knew, the place they best associated with Christ, and that was the upper room.
It is in this verse that all the Apostles, eleven at the time, are named in the New Testament for the last time, signifying that it is these eleven men that were the foundation upon which the church of Christ, and the household of faith would be built. In and of themselves none of these men were anything special, they were not the Albert Einstein of their time, their oratory skills were not that great, they did not know the Pentateuch by heart as the Pharisees most certainly did, some of them were even fearful, and often cowardly, yet it was with this handful of souls that Jesus chose to work in such a powerful way that the entire world stood up and took notice.
Some who saw the things that God did through them repented and came to the faith, while others blinded by their own rage at losing the tenuous sway they held over the people persecuted them, and hunted them, and murdered them in the most atrocious of ways. All that the church became, all that the body of Christ grew into, started with eleven men in an upper room, waiting for the promise of Jesus, waiting for the power that would descend upon them, and fill them, and make them fearless warriors of the faith.
No Paul was not numbered among them, as yet he was still one that persecuted the brethren, so truly and without equivocation none of these men stood out in any way, other than the fact that they were all average. Peter was a fisherman, James was a farmer, Matthew was a tax collector, all different, yet singular in their purpose of being obedient to Jesus no matter the cost. Jesus brings individuals together that would have otherwise never intersected, and He makes them brothers in Him.
Now it is our hearts that have become the upper room, or the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, it is our hearts that Christ desires to reside in, and in order for this to occur, our hearts must be reserved for Him and Him alone. He will not share space, He will not accept a roommate, He will not be content with being one of many that take up residence therein, He desires our hearts, in their entirety to be His. Only when our hearts are His in totality will we be able to comprehend the love of Christ which passes knowledge.
Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Holy Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Before I leave you for today there is one other thing I wanted to comment on if ever so briefly concerning the eleven men named as the Apostles of Christ, and that is the fact that they trusted Jesus to make a way for them to go and preach the gospel to the nations. They didn’t gather together and fret about how this would occur, they didn’t try to find reasons as to why they were not the best choices for the task at hand, they simply obeyed, and let God do the rest.
If God has called you, just obey. Too many, too often talk themselves out of seen a greater measure of the power of God in their lives, they talk themselves out of seeing God work through them, because in their mind they don’t thing they will ever be able to accomplish what God has called them to.
I doubt myself every day, I doubt my abilities every day, but never once have I doubted God, or my calling as it pertains to ministry or what God has commanded me to do. I know I am but a vessel, and it is only what the Master pours into the vessel that makes it a vessel of honor. My only duty as a vessel is to keep myself pure, to keep myself clean, to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, and let God be God, and work through me as He wills, to whatever end He sees fit. I trust God because He has never given me reason to doubt Him, because He is a good Father, and because long ago, in a manger in Bethlehem He sent His only Son just so that I might be reconciled unto Him today.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.