Where It All Began
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind—Acts 2:2
THE UPPER ROOM IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN. This is the place where Jesus physically celebrated his Last Supper with the disciples before his crucifixion. And this is the place where Jesus spiritually manifested himself with his disciples after his resurrection.
Pentecost in the Upper Room
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-4).
The Upper Room also marks the place where the Judeo-Christian faith began on the Day of Pentecost. The promised Holy Spirit made his room in the uppermost part of the believer’s heart and the rest is history.
Pilgrimage in the Holy Land
From the time of Solomon, more than 900 years before Christ, pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem was a thrice-yearly obligation for Jews. From the time Jesus was 12, he regularly observed this practice with his family.
Approaching the city, pilgrims would break into a joyous song and dance:
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2).
There is a vast difference between reading about the Holy Land and experiencing it first hand. Bible schools and theological seminaries should make it a part of their core curriculum. Churches should challenge their members to make this spiritual journey to the land of Jesus. If at all possible, I believe every serious student of the Scriptures should prayerfully make the pilgrimage to this place.
Why do I say this? Because it’s exhilarating to be able to walk where Jesus walked while taking in the biblical landscape with your senses on full throttle. Taking part in a pilgrimage offers more than just spiritual benefits. It enriches the mind as well as the soul, by seeing how other people live, gaining an appreciation of their cultures and history, experiencing the sights and smells of their markets and bazaars, and sharing in what they eat and drink. One cannot possibly imagine what this place is like by reading about it while seated in an armchair from the comfort of a distant home.
Presence in the Church Body
After coming full-circle in my pilgrimage to this holy place I asked myself the question, “What will I take away from it?”
The Holy Land today has extended its borders into the entire earth through an army of Christians—the Church—the Body of Christ in the world.
In Christ, we have been made holy—sanctified and set apart to wholly serve him with the task of making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
In Christ “the lamp of God has not yet gone out,” (1 Samuel 3:3) but has been ignited within every spiritual child of Abraham (Galatians 3:7) as he called us to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
In Christ we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
In Christ, we are to move from the center of the Holy of holies, pass the confines of the Temple, over the walls of Jerusalem, and beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land to bring the whole world under his sovereign rule—to bring his presence on earth as it is in heaven.
Power in the Holy Spirit
Our Lord Jesus said,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The prophet Isaiah reminds us of our mission:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7).
We are blessed by the mandate of God to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it …” (Genesis 1:28).
Alongside the psalmist we sing,
“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it …” (Psalm 24:1).
© 2018 Gicky Soriano