Deep in prayer, walking in short steps around the perimeter of the crowded room, the man cried out desperately to His God. "Jesus, where are you?! You said we should wait, but we have been waiting ten days in this tiny room. The men are afraid to come and go. We cower like dogs, and have no vision for what we should do next. I don't know why you chose me. Am I not a fisherman, an uneducated fisherman? What will you have me to do?"
As he passed the doorway, he heard the shuffling of feet on the stairs. His heart skipped a beat as he heard the knock at the door. But, the voice of Philip's oldest girl came softly through the wall. It was the four of them returning from the Temple. He was amazed that some of the women continued to come and go; to the market to fetch their meals, to the well to haul water, and to the Temple to pray. Yes, it was about 9:00 in the morning already, and here they were returning. As he unbarred the door, they slipped inside and took up their spots with the others in the vigil. He noticed the younger child take up her harp, and she began to strum softly the words of David.
...The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
...until I make your enemies your footstool.
...The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem;
...you will rule over your enemies.
...Your people are willing
...in the day of your power,
...in the beauty of holiness
...from the womb of the morning
...your strength will renew us each day like the morning dew.
...The LORD has sworn, and will not relent, You are a priest forever, Jesus...
A hush fell over the room as the words and music of the child faded and the sunlight, now climbing in the sky, flooded through the darkened window. It was a holy hush, an unseen hand seemed to lay gently on every stooped shoulder. A sigh wrenched loose from Mother Mary. John fell flat on his face, prostrate in the floor. But no one seemed to take notice of his brother. Peter suddenly broke into a mad dash around the room, and the others were waving their arms toward heaven as the Spirit of God was poured out in their hearts and souls. The visible, tangible presence of God was so real, you could almost touch it. The room was suddenly in such a passionate fervor that it seemed like tongues of fire rested over their heads. Everyone in the room began to praise God and speak in languages they had never learned.
The men were the first ones out the door of the crowded room. They danced down the steps and out into the streets which were bustling with the mid-morning festival crowds of the Pentecost Feast celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments. Some called this Whit's Sunday. But, the locals were taken by surprise by the surge of the Apostles out into the streets, shouting in gibberish. Some of them exclaimed that these were apparently celebrating the holiday too hard and were drunk. But, others recognized their own foreign languages coming from the mouths of these worshipers, and realized they were speaking different tongues.
Peter gathered the other 11 disciples together and, like any anointed young preacher without a pulpit will preach wherever he can find a crowd, he began to preach right there on the street corner.
"Men, brothers, we are not drunk on wine. It's not even late enough in the day for men to be drinking yet. This is the promise that God gave us in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of Joel. Joel said that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on all people, and our sons and daughters would prophesy, and our young men would see visions, and our old men would dream dreams. He promised signs and wonders would follow, and that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Peter preached on with the sun beating down on his back, on into the afternoon. Sweat poured from his forehead, as he danced in the Spirit, calling on each person in the crowd to come to pray. One by one, the men in the crowd came forward and fell on their knees before the Apostles asking what to do about their sin. Peter stood up and gave the answer...
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
By the time the day had ended, three thousand of them had been baptized. But, more than that, the long awaited power that Jesus had promised had now been given. No more did they cower in a hidden room. No, these men of God were emboldened to preach the word without fear. Just as Jesus had promised, "But you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. "
Scripture References as follows:
The Harp Song Psalm 110:1-4 (NKJV+NLT mixed)
Peter's answer Acts 2:38,
Jesus' parting promise Acts 1:8
Acts 2:1-2 And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting.
Amid the deafening silence, and the crowded bodies clustered around the small room, the men all stared as if by consensus at the one empty spot where he had sat. No one mentioned the spot for a time. They just sat there smothered in the gloom of the memories of all that had transpired. They were angry; each of them. This wolf in sheep's clothing had lived among them. He had carried the bag. He knew them well. He had been with them when they ate the dropped gleanings from the fields of the Israelites, as allowed for the poor, like homeless men.
No one thought about Thomas' doubting, or Peter's denial, or the way John Mark fled from the garden naked when the guards showed up to take Jesus in for trial. It was easier to bear the waiting without looking at their own faults. Jesus was gone, and surely someone else was to blame. This missing spot weighed so heavily on their minds, when they weren't in prayer that the only action they took was to replace Judas, the betrayer. Yes, they wanted to make sure that his post was given to another. That's exactly what he deserved, as the prophecies stated.
Acts 1:13-14 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother 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.
Nothing is recorded in history about Matthias. We hear about the ministries and deaths of the other 11, and about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Isn't that odd? Paul replaced Judas. Paul took the empty seat. Paul counted himself as one born out of season. He planted more churches than all the others, and wrote two-thirds of the New Testament. And, he figured in the telling of about half of the book of Acts. But, nowhere do we see Jesus' response to the men waiting in the Upper Room.
All we know was Jesus said wait. The only action they took was to vote on a replacement for Judas. This is neither commanded, nor rebuked, but simply a human decision based on a desire to speed their interpretation of Scripture. They wanted to see his post taken by another. And, they drew straws. Though not considered right, nor wrong, the action showed impatience when told to simply wait.
We speak of Sunday being the Lord's Day. Aren't all days the Lord's? Jesus told us that He is even Lord of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
The Bible uses the phrase "The Day of the Lord" about 26 times in 13 different books. Nine of the 16 old testament prophets mentioned it. Peter and Paul spoke about it in the New Testament. Jesus used parables to speak of the judgment day.
Matthew 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in pieces, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
I think these passages point out the reality that all days belong to God, and that there will be a final day of reckoning where we will account for the use of our days. Robert Brault has a humorous blog about the topic, which I have pasted in below, about Judgment Day.
Ten Ways to Ace Your Judgment Day Interview
1. Be on time.
2. Tell the Lord you've heard a lot about heaven and like what you hear.
3. Be neat, alert, make direct eye contact.
4. Don't stare at the beard.
5. When the Lord speaks, lean forward, look interested.
6. Be familiar with the Lord's background. ("I really liked your Ten Commandments.")
7. Be clear on where you want to be in five years.
8. Be honest about personal flaws. ("I tend to be too forgiving.")
9. Do not hesitate to underscore qualifications. ("I go to church every Easter.")
10. Make it clear that you'll accept the standard benefits package.
~~ Robert Brault
It becomes obvious in reading through these how different of an experience that the "Day of the Lord" is going to be from anything we have ever experienced. What do you think about Judgment Day?......
Worry more about what you do than what happens to you. This bit of advice, though it seems obvious on deeper analysis, is difficult to follow. In the book, The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, the opposite advice is given by Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, to use in instructing his assigned human. The whole point is, Wormwood is seeking to drag his human down, much like a guardian angel would try to encourage him for good. So, all of the advice that Uncle Screwtape gives his nephew is generally intended for us to turn around and follow the opposite advice. Whereas, Satan would prefer that we spent our time worrying more about what might happen to us, than about what we are doing in this world.
I think the essence of this idea is represented in the Scripture where Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 If I am more concerned with doing something for the Kingdom of God, I won't have to worry about what happens to me. This reminds me of the Apostle Peter asleep in prison, the night before he was to be executed. He was not concerned about what was going to happen to him at all. He had been busy about the work of the ministry. When things went South, as they sometimes do, he went to sleep. So, God interceded on his behalf. The Bible doesn't record that Peter did anything about his situation, but sleep.
Good night. I'm going to sleep myself. :)