What Can We Learn from the Upper Room?

5 Mins read

The Upper Room discussed in the Book of Acts was the birthplace of the New Testament Church. Regardless of the church that you attend, the denomination that you are a part of, or your particular style of worship, the church that you are connected to was berthed from the events recorded in the second chapter of Acts.

50 days after Jesus had resurrected from the dead and 10 days after He had ascended back into Heaven, His followers were gathered together, trying to figure out what to do next. Keep in mind, up to this point, following Jesus included being able to sit down and listen to Him teach. Until His glorious ascension, Jesus was healing the sick and casting out demonic spirits in the presence of His followers. While they had to have faith in His power, they were also able to enjoy His physical presence.

The events recorded in Acts 2 were experienced by a group of Christians who were looking for direction and purpose in their lives. They were fully aware of Jesus’ death, resurrection and miraculous ascension. However, they were faced with questions surrounding their own future. However, God’s miraculous display of power on the Day of Pentecost provide us with multiple lessons that we can apply to your own lives when we feel directionless and afraid. Let’s take a look at three of those lessons that God taught on the day the New Testament Church was born.

What to Do When Waiting
Acts 1:12-14 (TPT)

The disciples left the Mount of Olives and returned to Jerusalem less than a mile away. Arriving there, they went into a large second-floor room to pray. Those present were Peter, John, Jacob, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, Jacob (the son of Alpheus), Simon (the zealot), Judas (the son of Jacob), and a number of women, including Mary, Jesus’ mother. His brothers were there as well. All of them were united in prayer, gripped with one passion, interceding night and day.

The disciples who Jesus had chosen, His mother, His brothers and other women who believed in Him as the Messiah left the site of His ascension and returned to Jerusalem. Once they got there, they were experiencing any number of emotions. The disciples had to be fearful. They had just seen the Man who they dropped everything to follow go through a sham of a trial before being murdered by the same government officials who still had legal authority over them. Mary, the mother of Jesus and His brothers were forced to face their own sort of pain. They were fully aware that He was alive, but He was also gone. Mary, who had known Jesus all His life and His brothers who had known Him all of theirs were undoubtedly facing their own kind of grief.

How did they deal with it? They prayed and they waited. For 10 days and nights (the time between the ascension and the events of Acts 2), they gathered together, and they prayed. In the face of fear, sadness, sorrow, mourning and anxiety, they prayed.

Being in a waiting period is hard. We wait to hear about potential layoffs in the workplace. We wait to hear back from the doctor after undergoing testing. We wait to find out what’s going to happen when a loved one is facing any type of crisis. Committing yourself to prayer during these periods of waiting is the best way to handle our holding patterns. When we immerse ourself in His presence through prayer, we can experience His peace before we see His power on display.

The Power of Unity
Acts 2:1-2 (NKJV)

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.

The phrase “with one accord” sounds foreign to us because it’s not a term that we would use in conversation. Literally translated, this phrase means that everyone who was in attendance was there for the same reason. There was no division, no petty disagreements and no ill will within the crowd. According to Acts 1:15, there were roughly 120 people present. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get 120 people to come into complete agreement?! It would be nearly impossible.

However, God is passionate about unity. Dating back to the Old Testament, the Psalmist said that it is “beautiful when brothers dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). When Jesus’ ministry grew to the point that He needed to start dispatching the disciples to fulfill His mission, we read that He sent them out in groups of two (Mark 6:7).

The sound that is described in Acts 2:2 was the Holy Spirit coming into the room to empower those who had come together in unity and prayed for direction and power. Did you notice when Luke (the author of Acts) said that the Holy Spirit came? When they were all in agreement in one place. God’s Spirit didn’t enter into the room until all of the people there came together in unity.

In the same vein, God wants us to walk in unity today. His plan for us is not to experience division among ourselves. Jesus taught that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). In order for us (the Church) to fulfill His purpose, we have to come together, put our meaningless differences behind us and pursue His plan and His power.

A Display of Boldness
Acts 2:14 (TPT)

Peter stood up with the eleven apostles and shouted to the crowd. “Listen carefully, my fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem. You need to clearly understand what’s happening here.”
The commotion going on in the upper room had caused such a stir in Jerusalem that people started coming from around the city to find out what was going on. Faced with a crowd of thousands, Peter had a decision to make. Would he try to keep the power of the Holy Spirit confined to the 119 other people who were in the room with him, or would he stand up and preach the Gospel to a crowd of thousands who had gathered outside the building?

Peter’s mouth got him into a lot of trouble over the years. He was often the first to speak out, even when he should have probably stayed quiet. His eagerness to shoot off his mouth even led to him denying Christ three times on the night He was arrested. However, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s willingness to open his mouth turned into something that would reshape the course of human history.

Peter stood in front of a crowd of thousands and preached the Gospel. He preached the Messiahship of Christ, His death, burial and resurrection. The boldness that Peter displayed resulted in a mass conversion in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:41 (TPT)
Those who believed the word that day numbered three thousand. They were all baptized and added to the church.

A gathering of 120 people turned into 3000 new converts to the Church. Based on Peter’s boldness and willingness to stand up and share the Gospel, the Church became 25 times larger than it was just 10 days earlier.

In the dark, wicked culture that we presently live in, we need to be bold in our willingness to share our faith with others. No, you may never have the opportunity to stand in front of a crowd of thousands and lead 3,000 people to Christ. However, you can show His love and His grace to those in your immediate circle.

The upper room teaches us multiple lessons, but there are really three that stand out. The importance of waiting prayerfully in unity with other believers puts us in a position to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Finally, it is crucial that we have the boldness to share the Gospel with those around us.

A Closing Prayer:
God, remind me in times of waiting that I should remain focused on You. Help me to find other believers to come into unity with. Show me those who I need to forgive and those who I need to seek forgiveness from in a pursuit of unity. Finally, give me the boldness to share the Gospel with those around me. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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