We join the disciples right after Jesus’ leaves them. They heed the men in white and head back down the mountain. Jesus instructed them to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit so they head back to the room they spent their last night together in. The “upper room.” Here they will wait for Jesus’ promise.
I find it very ironic that the very thing Jesus asked Peter, James and John to do in the garden with Him is what they are clinging to while waiting for His promise. “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (verse 14). There were about 120 people in this group praying day in and day out. Jesus’ closest disciples couldn’t stay awake and pray one hour that night but now they are praying for days on end.
Something just occurred to me concerning that issue. While in the garden, the disciples felt safe with Jesus nearby. He had protected them in the storms and shielded them from the religious leaders for three and a half years. Yes, they were on edge about the religious leader’s threats but they didn’t really feel in mortal danger. Jesus had also told them that they would be safe. They didn’t feel a pressing need to pray. But in the upper room Jesus was gone from their midst. They needed direction. They turned to the BEST option Jesus had given them. They sought God with their whole heart! They were desperate to hear from Him and to receive the promise He left them with. They weren’t praying because they were asked to but because they HAD to. I can identify with that!
When reading this account I have a question too. We know that Peter bringing up the subject of replacing Judas was a fulfillment of scripture but what prompted him to do this? I’m pretty certain the Holy Spirit put it in his heart. But I’m wondering if part of his motivation was to do something, anything, to hurry the process along.
There have been so many times in my life when I get impatient waiting for the “promise” at the end. I find myself “helping” God with the little things to move things along. “Maybe if I do _____ He will finally answer me.” I try to make everything perfect for Him to act. Is this part of what prompted Peter to make his suggestion? “Maybe if we become full in number again the Holy Spirit will finally come.”
The most important part of their process though was that they invited God into it. They asked His hand in choosing who would be Judas’ replacement. They took the outcome to be directly from God. They didn’t ask for the best 2 out of 3. They trusted Him explicitly.
I wonder how much longer they had to wait for the Holy Spirit. When did they “put forward” Mathias and Justus? Was it at the beginning of the week’s wait, in the middle or at the end? Also, did they think that by getting things in order it would hasten Jesus’ return. The men in white didn’t say how long it would be before Jesus returned. The disciples lived as if it could be any day! Did they realize that they wouldn’t see Him on earth again until the whole world heard His message? Were they anxious to receive the Holy Spirit so they could get started?
Father God, is it time yet? I’m sure that was one of the questions going around the upper room too. Waiting has never been easy for me. I appreciate that You have allowed me to “help out” sometimes. Those were the times when You Spirit prompted me to take some action, usually praying. Other times I “helped out” of my own volition. You were so gracious to me during those times too. You have been teaching me how to wait the last few years. It’s not easy and I get it wrong more times than I can count, but I am making some progress. Please help me hear more clearly the difference between Your prompting to move forward and my impatience driving me.
One of the things I used to say quite often is that “it is all in God’s timing, I just wish He would wind His watch.” What I want to say from now on is that “it is all in Your timing and I will wait patiently, even if it kills me!”