Acts: Upper Room

From Journey the Word

The apostles travel to the upper room | Acts 1:12-14 “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. 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 Zelotes, 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 brethren.”

The apostles went back to Jerusalem to Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives), likely speechless from their experience seeing Jesus ascend into Heaven before their eyes. Mount Olivet was on the eastern side of Jerusalem, and it is named as so due to the abundance in olive trees that are upon the mountain. They returned to Jerusalem with “great joy” (Luke 24:52). From Mount Olivet to Jerusalem is about a 1 day journey approximately. The Syriac notes that it is “about seven furlongs”, or nearly a mile. Although the Jews seem to think a sabbath day’s journey was about two-thousand cubits (see Numbers 35:4), which is equivalent to about 0.56 of a mile (a little over half a mile). Jews were usually prevented from going more than 0.75 of a mile (three-quarter mile) on the sabbath, which is why the Greek idiom is used “a sabbath day’s journey.”

As all eleven remaining apostles had gathered in the upper room, one may note that Jesus had twelve disciples/apostles; however, remember that Judas Iscariot took his own life, which brought the number down to eleven. The apostles prayed alongside Mary (Jesus’ mother), brethren, and other women – most likely to pray for the ministry they were about to do and pray for whom the next apostle would be. Supplication is usually supplemented to the word prayer, which means “urgent and/or earnest prayer.” The apostles had reason to expect Jesus’ promise shall be fulfilled unto them, and they have kept faithful unto Him. Mary, Jesus’ mother, seemed to stay by the apostles’ sides, but this seems to be the last place we hear about her. Mary may have stayed with them since it was in her piety to do so, or that she felt it necessary especially in memory of Jesus. It is assuredly true that the apostles had many stories to tell about Jesus, and Mary was fond of hearing such stories.