“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 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. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
Acts 1:12-14 NKJV
So many things had happened in such a short time. The disciples and all those with them, had seen the death of the their Lord Jesus on the cross, witnessed His resurrection, and once again met with Him. They were at the Mount of Olives as he gave them His final instructions before ascending to be with the Father.
They had been given a heavy commission to go into all they world, and the promised Helper had not yet come. I am sure it was a daunting task set before them.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
There was that moment of spectacle and of loss as they stood there waiting for what was to happen next. The great Savior who had risen again, was now gone.
I remember long ago when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, watching the shocked onlookers, family and friends, staring into the sky, waiting for some appearance of a parachute or something that would signal the good news. The disciples had suffered great loss, as Jesus was gone into heaven and no longer in their sight. Unlike the crew of the shuttle, Jesus promised that He will return.
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.””
Acts 1:10-11 NKJV
I suspect there was comfort in the appearance of the angels, as they encountered the supernatural and knew that all they had gone through was indeed ordained by God. They went to the upper room and gathered together, all one hundred and twenty souls.
When they came together, they gathered and prayed in one accord. It would have been easy for men and women of flesh and blood to find themselves caught up in disputing, battling over matters of the faith, whether to believe or not, whether Jesus was ever going to come back. But, in that moment, having witnessed a miracle, amongst many, they unified in prayer. They entered the Holy of Holies in one accord.
On the day of Pentecost, once again together in prayer, the promise of the Helper was fulfilled, as the Holy Spirit descended upon them, bridging the gap between flesh and spirit, human might, and divine power.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
Every difference, every distinction, every cultural separation was done away with, as the Holy Spirit entered each one. They went from many, to one body, unified in Christ Jesus, unified in prayer, by the power o the Holy Spirit. Jesus had given them His presence, and He would never again leave them.
We today are faced with many forces that seek to divide us, to weaken our access to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to lessen the effectiveness of our witness. I believe that Satan sent the dividing reactions to the pandemic to distract us.
I stand as one in the middle, recognizing that there is a very real pandemic that has been used by the devil to distract the world. Even recently, a dear brother I had the chance to fellowship with struggled at the mere mention of a vaccine.
In this time of division we need to pray. We need to pray for each other, we need to seek the Lord and be reminded by the Holy Spirit that we are united in Christ. We must endeaver to pray together whenever possible. The early church was prepared for its mission by weeks of prayer, even before the coming of the Holy Spirit. Imagine what we could do as a global church of the born again, given that we already have Him in us.
I have said before, that we who know the Lord have been given the same heart, and thus are peacemakers. We are one, as there is no distinction and we are part of each other.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV
Being reminded that we are unified in Jesus removes any separation and alleviates all the inequalities and inequities that have so ensnared our world. I can say that I, a black man, have been greatly blessed by many of my white brothers and sisters in Christ. I can also say that many of the beloved brothers and sisters I pray for, would be adversaries in the flesh, but kin in the Spirit.
Let us be united in Christ, reaching out in the Spirit to one another, that we be unified to go about the mission begun in that upper room so many years ago, and nearing its completion as we await the coming of the Day of the Lord.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!