Summary: Three things we can do to be ready for Pentecost
READINESS FOR PENTECOST
Three things we can do to be ready for Pentecost
First two were taking place as the disciples left the Mount of Olives and made their way to the Upper Room, a room above a street in Jerusalem that now had become very special to them because of the experience of the Last Supper and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.
Luke carefully tells us that it was a Sabbath days journey from Mount Olivet to the Upper Room. Based on Exodus 16 & Numbers 34, a Hebrew’s movement on the Sabbath were limited. He was allowed to go no further than 2,000 cubits or 6 furlongs, which would equal about 3/4 of a mile.
Luke’s reference to this tells us what the distance of the Upper Room was from Mount Olivet...that it was probably the Sabbath...and that these were faithful Jews who kept the regulations of their religion.
As the disciples walked this distance, we may strongly suppose that they questioned, "What does all this mean? What are we to do now? The Master has promised us the Kingdom, even though it will be different than what we expected...And He has assured us that He will come again.
What can we do to be prepared for His return? It is the Sabbath...and we surely can’t be seen in the Temple because we’d definitely be arrested...Let’s pass the word and gather all the Lord’s followers...tell them what the Master has told us...and wait for His return together.
And that’s exactly what they did. Luke, being the thorough reporter that he was, tells us who was among those who gathered for prayer. The eleven disciples, now minus Judas...
The women referred to must have been those who went to the tomb on that resurrection morning - according to Luke’s gospel..."Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them (24:10)
Also included in the Upper Room were Jesus’ mother and His brothers. That would have included James, who would later assume a very important role in the church later on.
In verse 15 we are told that there were 120 in all, probably including people like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.
That sets the stage for two things that must have been central in their preparation. The two are part of one experience. First, we know they prayed...but also I think they had a very profound time of reconciling relationships.
There had been competition among the disciples and there must have been some remains of the criticism they had of each other. Peter had denied the Lord...Thomas had doubted...and James and John had argued over who was the greatest and what position they would have in Jesus’ kingdom.
Also, there were bad feelings between Jesus’ family and the disciples. His mother and brothers had tried to turn Jesus, and had come to take Him home to Nazareth on at least one occasion.
From the cross, Jesus had assigned John the responsibility of His mother, and we can be sure John was sorting out what that would mean in light of the challenge Jesus had given them on Olivet before departing.
Then, added to that were the people that Jesus had healed from sins that no good Jew could tolerate. Had the disciples ever worked through their real feelings about a person like Mary Magdalene?
With Jesus’ absence, they were confronted with the fact that their relationship had always been cushioned with His gracious acceptance. Did they feel like He did?
And what about the Pharisee Nicodemus? Was he really one of them? He was a member of the Sanhedrin and yet had not been able to stop the horrible thing the Jewish leaders had done to Jesus. Sure, he had shown his loyalty by asking for the body of Jesus and helping with the burial...But could he be trusted?
And what about rich Joseph of Arimathea? He provided the tomb in the garden outside the city wall...but with all that Jesus had said about the rich, and the responsibility to the poor...was his presence one of genuine concern? Should he really be accepted among them?
It was a strange mix of humanity gathered there in the Upper Room. Each had his or her reason for being there - the knowledge of what Jesus had meant to each of them. But what were they to each other except people with a common loyalty to Jesus? And He was gone!!
They now had to sit and wait...look each other in the eye...open their hearts to one another...share their loneliness, their grief over Jesus’ absence...and their wonderment about the future.
Here were rich and poor...people of high social status and people reclaimed from the dregs...people whose lives would never have touched each other apart from Jesus.