PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LI (51)
The writer of the Gospel of Mark was the young man. And Mark was the witness who told the women to instruct the disciples to go to Galilee where they would meet the Risen Jesus (Mark 16:7). The writer was not able to complete John Mark’s testimony of the Risen Lord Jesus. The editors of Matthew have Jesus tell the women to tell the disciples that He would meet them in Galilee. The eleven disciples met the Risen Jesus, worshipped Him! And they receive the authority to go into the world and make followers of Jesus (Matthew 28:9-20). The conclusion of the Gospel of Matthew also appears to have been ended abruptly. The two writers, who were chosen by the Holy Spirit, I believe, to give an account of the Risen Christ, could not reveal their names in a hostile environment, and they also wanted to credit the Holy Spirit for their work. Both writers were knowledgeable in the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek religion. These two writers bear the marks of having been students of the great Gamaliel with Saul (Paul), Barnabas, Silas, John Mark, Philip, Stephen, and others. It is unlikely that these simple Galileans were skilled in the art of communicating the great truth of Christ to the world. Let us remember that the Holy Spirit, after Pentecost, and for Peter before Pentecost, gave nameless companions to the disciples to assist and to lead them. The writers and the witnesses did not seek to publicize their names, but they wanted to glorify the Name of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, and Son of God (Acts 4:12).
HOW AND WHY DID JESUS NEED AN UPPER ROOM?
Jesus’ ministry began in Galilee and ended in the Upper Room. Jesus and his family annually went to the Passover and they became acquainted with Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-52). That explains why Jesus may have known Judas before He chose him. Judas was not from Galilee, but he was trusted with the finances. Also, Jesus needed a person who could hand Him over to be sacrificed as the “Passover Lamb.” Judas was known to the authorities and to Mark (Mark 14:10-11). The question is, “Where would Jesus find a large enough room for his disciples and their families when he would be taken from them?” For Jesus knew that He would be killed (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:45). Jesus taught that He was not of this world and neither were his followers. However, Jesus’ followers had to make friends with mammon when they faced hardships (John 17:14; Luke 16:9-13). Jesus was on the lookout for people who could, like Barnabas, part with earthly goods (Acts 4:36-37). One day such a rich young ruler came running to Jesus. And Jesus loved him! However, the young rich ruler needed some time to part with his riches. I believe that he did part with his riches; and therefore, he ended up financing and supporting the Jesus’ movement. This rich young ruler was none other than John Mark, the son of Mary, the owners of the Upper Room. John Mark also became the middle man between the Jews, Gentiles, and the followers of Jesus. And when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, John Mark also became Peter’s friend.
And as Jesus was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell all that you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions (Mark 10:17-22).
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to Jesus, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?” And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and reay; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and wet to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.
And when it was evening he came with the twelve. And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, ne whois dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
And as they were eating, he took the bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to
Then, they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to hm, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said vehemently, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same (Mark 14:12-31).
THE USE OF THE UPPER ROOM BECAME A HOME FOR JESUS’ FOLLOWERS
It was in the Upper Room where Jesus said “His Final Words” to his followers. And it was in the Upper Room where Jesus also encouraged his disciples to be ready for a new experience. In a short while, Jesus would disappear from their presence, and in another short time Jesus would appear before them, and after that Jesus would never leave them. Jesus spoke of His Spirit being forever with them. The Risen Lord Jesus returned to the Upper Room and breathed His Spirit on his followers; however, Thomas was absent. And after Jesus had been with the men from Emmaus, He went to meet with his eleven disciples and to teach them from the Old Testament Scripture why He had to suffer, why He had to die, and why He had to return from the dead for their benefit.
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me ill be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me (John 14:18-24).
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood amon them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they say the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgive; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20: 19-23).
As they (Emmaus men) were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw my spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” hey gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Then he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but say in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God (Luke 24:36-53).
THE RISEN LORD’S FORTY DAYS MISSION
The Risen Christ made more converts in forty days, than Jesus did before His Resurrection. The Spirit of Christ can live in every human soul while the human Spirit of Jesus could not.
In the first book (The Gospel of Luke), O Theophilus (Friend of God), I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing o them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, wich, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, how was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.
All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mar the other of Jesus, and with his brothers (Acts 1:1-14).