Summary: The Upper Room is not just a geographical location. It is any where we encounter the Living God.
Countdown to Pentecost
ENTERING THE UPPER ROOM
(Preached at FUMC, McMinnville Tn 5/28/2006 by Dr. Steve Angus
Whenever a Christian visits the Holy Land one of the places he wants to visit is the Upper Room. There were so many significant things that occurred in the Upper Room. It was in the Upper Room that Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover together and Jesus gave to us The Lord’s Supper. It was in the Upper Room that Jesus spokes the words of John 14, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me." When the agony of Good Friday had passed and the glory of Easter occurred, many believe it was through the locked door of the Upper Room that Jesus came and showed himself to the disciples. It has been traditionally held that it was to the Upper Room that the disciples retreated to after the Ascension of Jesus and when the Holy Spirit was poured out on a praying group of disciples on Pentecost.
The Upper Room is significant to the Christian. We as United Methodist have a devotional guide we call the Upper Room. At the board of Discipleship in Nashville we have the Upper Room prayer chapel with a wood craving of the Last Supper. It is only logical that a Christian visiting the Holy Land would want to visit this place.
During one of my visits to the Holy Land our guide took us to a room and said, "This is a traditional site of the Upper Room." A few day latter he took us to another place and said, "This is a traditional site of the Upper Room." He went on to say that there are 5 or 6 that could have been the location or it may not be any of them. In reality, we do not know where the Upper Room was located. But you know, perhaps that is good. For you see, when we get right down to it, the Upper Room is not a geographical location, it is any place we seek the Living God. In other words, the Upper Room may be the woods, a closet, a church, a drive in the car, or our bed late at night. The Upper Room are those places in our life when we encounter God.
There is no question about it, every Christian needs an Upper Room. We need the things only the Upper Room can provide.
The Upper Room is a place for solitude. There are times in our life when we need to be with our self. If nothing else it becomes a time when we can sort through things and set a course for our life. We so often underestimate our need for and the power of silence and aloneness.
The prophets of old did this. Moses the lawgiver and liberator of the Hebrew people is a good example. In essence he was in solitude for 40 years, tending his father in laws sheep before he had his burning bush experience. When he was leading the Israelites out of Egypt Moses would often spend days in the mountains in solitude with God.
Jesus also sought that solitude. He would rise up early in the morning and would sometimes go into the mountain to get away from the crowds. Our Upper Room is that place were we can experience this kind of solitude.
The Upper Room is that place were we find our spirits, our minds, even our bodies renewed. It is that place were we receive the rest we need. For example there was Elijah the Old Testament prophet. There were times when he was alone with God and God would send the birds to bring him something to eat. After Jesus was in the wilderness the angels came and ministered to his needs. The Upper Room a place were our spirits renewed, the obstacles of life are brought into perspective removed and we are able to go about life in a renew way.
In one of his books, Charles Allen tells about a highway that was being built in England. In the way stood a very, very old building. The workmen tore it down and cleared off the ground on which it stood. After the ground had been exposed to the sunshine and rain for some months, a wonderful thing happened. Flowers began to spring up, and botanists and naturalists from all over England came to study them. Many of the flowers were identified as plants the Romans had brought to England almost 2,000 years before. Some of the plants that sprang up are completely unknown today.
Hidden there in the ground, without air and light, the seeds seemed to have died. But they were not dead. As soon as the obstacles were cleared away, and the sunshine let in, they sprang into the fullness of their beauty. This is what can happen in the confines of our Upper Room. What was ugly and hard is some how transformed into life.