Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament book of Acts which is the spiritual account of the body of Christ as it was written by the physician Luke. More specifically today’s passages is found in the first forty-one verses of the second chapter. “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 wer sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaean? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and in Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and prosecutes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, fire, and vapour of smoke: Then shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:14-21). “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God di by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel land foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be Holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my souls in hill, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me fully of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:22-28). “Men and brethren, let mee freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he that shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:29-36). “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:37-41). When you come to the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the account of the day of Pentecost as it was described by the physician Luke. If there is one thing that makes this truly incredible it’s that this is the only reference and mention in all of Scripture of the day of Pentecost in the New Testament. There is absolutely no other mention of this event as it pertains to describing the events which took place. Luke who had already written a treatise and gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ now sets out to present a written account of the life of the spiritual body of Christ which would remain upon the earth. I continue to be absolutely amazed and captivated with the fact that this particular book would indeed be written about the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ as it would remain within and upon the earth after His ascension unto the Father. There is a. Great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found within this particular book for Jesus had already been removed from the earth for almost two weeks. There were forty days from the day Jesus was raised from death to life and emerged from the tomb and when He ascended unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. The disciples would indeed spend another ten days tarrying and waiting in the midst of the city of Jerusalem knowing Jesus had instructed to tarry there until they receive the promise of the Father. What’s more is the disciples knew and understood the words Jesus spoke unto them prior to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father when He promised them they would be witnesses unto Him in Jerusalem, in all Judaea, in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding this particular day and what it would mean for the one-hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room. I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be incredibly captivated with the fact that for ten days there were at least one-hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room—or at least that’s what many have said. It is true that in the first chapter of this book we find one-hundred and twenty present in the upper room which included the eleven apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brethren and others. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the seventy which Jesus sent out with authority and power to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to heal the sick and cast out demons might also have been present on this particular occasion. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that if you factor in the eleven apostles and the seventy whom Jesus appointed that would have made eighty-one people who potentially made up the one-hundred and twenty. Factor in Mary and that brings the number of people there up to eighty-two which would indeed leave a remaining difference of thirty-eight souls. Of course we don’t know who exactly made up the rest of the one-hundred and twenty nor do we know how many brothers and sisters Jesus had. Scripture is largely silent on how many brothers and sisters Jesus had and we are left to speculate as to how many He actually had. What makes this even more intriguing is when you take the time to consider that we truthfully don’t know how many were actually present in the upper room which were present on the day of Pentecost. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the first chapter you will find that after Jesus had ascended unto the right hand of the Father and after those who were present together with Him at the mount called Olivet they returned unto Jerusalem with great joy and rejoicing. What we find in the first and opening chapter of this book is a powerful description of all those who were present in the upper room being gathered together in one place and one accord. The beloved physician Luke writes how all those who were present at the mount called Olivet returned unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which was from Jerusalem a sabbath’s day’s journey. When they were in fact come in to the house or the upper room they would go up into an upper room where there would abide the eleven apostles who would continue together with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. This is something we dare not miss and lose sight of for the text seems to indicate that what we read here might have in fact taken place on the fortieth day after Jesus was raised from the grave and when He ascended unto the right hand of the Father. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to which particular day that which we read in the final verses of the first chapter took place, however, we do know that Simon Peter would stand up in the midst of all those who were present and call them to choose one from among them who would step into and fill the place which would be vacated by Judas Iscariot. Of course we know that the lot would fall upon one called Matthias who would take the place of Judas Iscariot among the eleven apostles. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand for in the fifteenth chapter of this gospel we find and read how during those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and when he spoke unto and among them the number of names together with them were about an hundred and twenty present in the house and in the upper room. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the opening verses of the second chapter of this book. It is in the second chapter of this New Testament book we find the beloved physician Luke writing that “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Oh there is something truly astonishing about this when you take the time to think about it for it forces me to wonder what would indeed and would in fact take place during those ten days while the apostles, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brethren and others tarried and abode in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What was it like during those days as the apostles and all those gathered together with them abode, tarried and remained in the midst of the city of Jerusalem? I would dare say that two individuals who were most likely part of the one-hundred and twenty were the two men whom Jesus encountered on the road to Damascus. The beloved physician Luke writes and records how after Jesus had been raised from death to life on the third day—even after the women and disciples brought back word that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave—there were two men who would depart from the midst of the city of Jerusalem and journey unto a town called Emmaus. The beloved physician Luke writes how Jesus would encounter these two men as they journeyed away from and outside of the city of Jerusalem although he does not describe why. Why would these two men who had just heard and received report of Jesus being raised from the dead on the first day of the week depart from Jerusalem? What’s more is when you read the words which are found within the twenty-fourth and final chapter of this gospel you will find that Jesus seems to be unwilling to allow these men to be apart from the fellowship of the apostles and the brethren. The words presented in this passage seems to clearly indicate that Jesus desired to restore these men unto fellowship together with the apostles and the other brethren—and not only restore them unto fellowship together with the apostles and brethren but also quite possibly position them to experience the events which would take place on the day of Pentecost. I am absolutely convinced that if you want to truly understand the significance of what took place in the first chapter when you read of “these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” as well as what you read in the second chapter of this same book how “they were all with one accord in one place” there is a great need to read and consider the words which were found twenty-fourth and final chapter of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. There is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs recognize how Jesus would indeed walk with these two men as they journeyed from Jerusalem unto Emmaus as He not only listened to their disillusion and doubt but also expounded unto them those things which must needs happen unto Him according to the Law and the prophets. It would be during this journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus Jesus would teach and expound unto them all those things written concerning Himself and upon arriving at Emmaus Jesus would have made as though He would have continued going. These two men entreated Jesus to abide and tarry with Him since the day was far spent. Jesus would indeed agree to tarry with them and on this particular night He would take bread, bless and break it as He gave it unto them. Immediately after Jesus had blessed and broken the bread and given it unto them their eyes would be opened and He would vanish from their sight. These two men would not only turn one to another and ask how their hearts burned within them as He expounded unto them the truth concerning Himself from the Scripture but would also immediately rise up from that place and return unto the city of Jerusalem. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke and this incredible encounter between Jesus and these two men: “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasons, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were Holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the thigns which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the woman had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these tings, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread” (Luke 24:13-35). “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet that is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me. Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and this it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise form the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:36-49). “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:50-53). I absolutely love the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the words presented here calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ willingness to rescue and even intervene within the lives of these two men who had departed from Jerusalem. Of course we know from the Scripture that it wasn’t until after they had returned unto the city of Jerusalem, and after they had spoken unto the disciples concerning those things which had happened to them along the way, and after they revealed unto them how He was made known unto them in the breaking of bread and after Jesus had appeared unto them and showed unto them His hands, His feet and His side that He would give the command to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome beauty of Jesus not only rescuing these two men from their departure from the city of Jerusalem but returning them unto the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is I would dare say that also included in this is Jesus restoring these two men unto the fellowship of the apostles and the brethren and women who were present on this particular day. RESCUED FROM DEPARTURE! RETURNED UNTO JERUSALEM! RESTORED UNTO FELLOWSHIP! Oh there is something truly astonishing and captivating about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how the Lord Jesus would indeed appear unto these two men as they were journeying from Jerusalem unto a village called Emmaus that He might not only expound unto them those things written unto Him in the prophets and the psalms but also make Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread. Undoubtedly Jesus knew that these two men needed to be among those who were present in the midst of Jerusalem. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus deliberately intentionally rescued these men from their departure unto Jerusalem and both revealed unto them those things which were written concerning Him in the Scripture as well as revealed Himself in and through the breaking of bread.
There is a great and wonderful truth that is found in the final verses of the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke for within it we are brought face to face with the incredible truth of Jesus appearing unto these two men as they were journeying along the way from Jerusalem unto a village called Emmaus. Jesus would indeed appear unto them—despite the fact that their eyes with Holden that they might not recognize Him nor know who He was. It would be as Jesus walked with them from Jerusalem unto Emmaus He would expound unto them from the scriptures those things concerning Himself and how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the rulers of the people and ultimately sinners before being crucified at the hands of men. Jesus would indeed continue walking with them to the place where they had set out for and would have made as though He would walk further beyond that place until they constrained Him to abide and tarry with them. It would be in that context Jesus would not only tarry with them but would also reveal and make Himself known in the breaking of bread. Immediately after making Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread Jesus would vanish from their sight and they would look upon and speak one to another about their heart burning within them while He spoke to them along the way. Luke writes how at the very hour they would indeed rise up from that place and would return unto the city of Jerusalem where they would find the eleven apostles who remained in the midst of the city. There in the midst of the city of Jerusalem these two men would indeed speak unto them of all that had happened to them along the way and thus confirming the fact that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave, had revealed and made Himself known unto Simon and had shown Himself unto them in the breaking of bread.
I have to admit the more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that Jesus set out to rescue these men from potentially being absent from the midst of the city of Jerusalem for they must needs be among those who would experience the coming and manifestation of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. It would be in the final verses of the twenty-fourth chapter of this gospel narrative written by Luke we find Jesus continuing to affirm unto them those things which Christ must needs suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. Moreover Jesus would also speak unto them how repentance and remissions of sins should be preached in His name among the nations beginning at Jerusalem. This would indeed be followed by the Lord Jesus also declaring unto them how they were witnesses of this truth and declare unto them even further that He would send the promise of the Father upon them. With this promise of the Father, however, would come a command which would be given unto them—namely the command to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and how absolutely powerful it truly is for Jesus did indeed promise unto them He would send the promise of the Father, however, the only way they would experience the promise of the Father was to abide and tarry in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus had indeed and had in fact given the promise that He would send the Holy Ghost unto and upon them, however, they would and could not experience that promise if they did not abide and tarry in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it brings us face to face with that which is found in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by man infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being, assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 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” (Acts 1:1-14).
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the fact not only would Jesus instruct the apostles and those who were together with them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on High but He would also promise and declare unto them how they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them and they would be witnesses unto Him both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and In Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. This is something we have to recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus inviting the apostles, His brethren, the women, His mother and even these two men whom He encountered on the road to Emmaus to abide and tarry in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus deliberately and intentionally appeared unto these men as they journeyed along the way that He might return them unto Jerusalem and restore them unto the fellowship of the apostles and brethren that they might hear His words, have their understanding opened and receive the command to tarry and abide in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Essentially that which the Lord Jesus was doing was declaring unto them they they should and ought not depart from the city of Jerusalem for it would be in Jerusalem where the promise of the Father would indeed be manifested and released unto and upon them. Jesus would engage and set out upon a rescue mission that He might return these men unto the city where the promise of the Father would indeed be released unto and upon them. What’s more is Jesus would indeed restore them unto the fellowship of the apostles and the brethren that when the day of Pentecost came they would indeed be recipients of the promise of the Father which would indeed be poured out unto and upon them.
It is with this in mind I can’t help but wonder about the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. When you come to the fifteenth chapter of this first epistle you will indeed read a powerful description of the resurrection of the saints and the transformation that will take place when Jesus does in fact return and gather them together unto Himself, however, even before you read of this you will find the apostle Paul speaking unto them concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that not only does the apostle Paul speak unto them concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ but he also writes and speaks unto them concerning the revelation of Jesus after He had been raised from death to life. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when coming to the first and second chapters of the New Testament book of Acts for in the epistle written unto the Corinthian saints the apostle Paul would provide a number of those whom the Lord Jesus showed Himself alive unto after He had been raised from death to life. It is in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul we find and encounter the absolutely tremendous and incredible truth surrounding Jesus not only being raised from death to life on the third day but also showing Himself alive unto many over the period of the next forty days by many infallible proofs. At one time there was indeed five hundred whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto as He would indeed demonstrate that He was in fact alive and had been risen from the grave. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto your first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed” (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
What a truly wonderful and powerful truth is found within this passage of Scripture for within it we find Jesus showing Himself alive unto Simon and unto the twelve. The apostle Paul would write how Jesus would not only show Himself alive unto Simon and the twelve but also up to upwards of five hundred at one time—much of whom were still present at the time the apostle Paul wrote the words which were found in this epistle. What makes this absolutely gripping is when you take the time to think about the fact that the apostle Paul would write of five hundred who would see Jesus the Christ after He had been raised from death to life and how in the first and opening chapter of the book of Acts we read of one hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. I have long thought about and wondered at the great disparity which is found in the five hundred whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto after he was raised from the death and the potentially one hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. Stop and consider the fact that there would be three hundred and eighty from the five hundred whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto who were absent from the upper room on the day of Pentecost. If there was indeed only one hundred and twenty souls who were present on the day of Pentecost when the promise of the Father was released then where were the other three-hundred and eighty whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto? Stop and think about the fact that you were one of those whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto after He had been risen from death to life and not only did you depart from the city of Jerusalem after He had shown Himself alive unto you but you might have even remained and abode in the midst of the city of Jerusalem but weren’t among those who were present in the upper room. I would dare say that there is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to this for it forces us to ask the question of where the other three-hundred and eighty souls were when the day of Pentecost arrived.
What makes this all the more is when you think about Jesus in the city of Jericho and encountered the ten men who were lepers. Scripture reveals how Jesus would heal these ten lepers and would send them forth to show themselves unto the priests and yet how as they turned and were healed only one who would return unto Jesus. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is for only one of the ten lepers who were healed would return unto the Lord Jesus Christ to give thanks. If you do the math of this you would see that this was only ten percent out of one hundred percent who were healed. WHERE IS THE OTHER NINETY PERCENT? WASN’T THE OTHER NINETY PERCENT HEALED? Oh this something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus healed ten lepers of their leprosy and yet when all ten turned and went their way and saw that they were healed only one would return unto Jesus to give thanks unto Him for his healing. What’s more is Jesus Himself would ask this leper if there weren’t in fact ten who were healed and where the other nine lepers who were healed were. Jesus saw that only one of the ten lepers would indeed return and give thanks unto the living God for His healing and would speak peace unto him peace and wholeness. Oh I am convinced we must needs recognize how absolutely incredible this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the nine tenths that were missing from those who were healed as well as the three-hundred and eighty who were missing on the day of Pentecost. There were ten who were healed and yet only one returned to give glory to God and there were five hundred who were witness unto the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and whom He had showed Himself alive unto and yet only one hundred and twenty would be present in the midst of the upper room. Oh how absolutely tremendous and astonishing this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it brings us to the place where we ask where were the other three-hundred and eighty whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto.
I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the days in which we are presently living and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that we are being and have been brought into the place where we are being called to choose and decide. As you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that he called the children of Israel to choose this day whom they would serve and would go on to declare that as for he and his house they would serve the Lord. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for there were ten lepers who were healed and of those ten lepers each was given a choice whether or not they would return to give God glory. Of those ten lepers who were healed only one would choose to return to Jesus and give God glory for his healing. What’s more is that Jesus would show Himself alive unto five hundred at one time and yet only one hundred and twenty were mentioned in the first and opening chapter. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the five hundred whom Jesus showed Himself alive unto were given a choice whether or not they would tarry and abide in the city of Jerusalem that they might be endued with power from on high. Oh when I think about the three hundred and eighty who were absent from the apostles, the brethren, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brethren and others I can’t help but be reminded of the parable which Jesus taught concerning the marriage and the wedding. Jesus delivered a parable concerning a marriage that was given and how there were many who were invited but as the wedding drew closer there would be three different groups of individuals who would all ask to be excused from the wedding for one reason or another. I am absolutely convinced that this is something we must needs recognize and understand for I can’t help but think about the fact that these other three-hundred and eighty who were absent on the day of Pentecost each had their own reason and perhaps even their own excuse for why they would and could not be present. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke concerning this parable Jesus spoke concerning the marriage and the wedding and those who were bidden as well as those who made excuse as to how and why they couldn’t come to the wedding. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture and the excuses men made as to how and why they couldn’t come to the wedding:
“And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And Another said, I have bought give yoke of oxen, and I go to pave them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:15-24).
There is something absolutely astounding about the words which we find in this particular parable Jesus spoke for within it we find a certain man making a great supper and bidding many to come. When the time came for all those who were bidden to come they who were bidden come would begin making excuses as to why they couldn’t come. There was one who would say how they bought a piece of ground and needed to go and see it. There was another who said that they had just bought five yoke of oxen and needed to go and prove them. There was still another who said that they had just married a wife and could not make it. Of the three different individuals who were mentioned two of them asked to be excused from the wedding while one of them would flat out say they could not make it unto the wedding at all. Oh there is something we must needs recognize and understand when the day of Pentecost came there was quite possibly only one hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room. What makes this even more intriguing is when you consider the fact that the only instruction Jesus gave was tarry and wait, for He did not provide an exact time frame for when the promise of the Father. Directly linked and connected to tarrying within the city of Jerusalem was indeed the invitation to wait for tarrying and waiting would be and still are intrinsically linked and connected. If you want to truly understand the concept of tarrying you must needs acknowledge and understand that tarrying more often than not means waiting—and waiting with nothing more than a promise to hold on to. The apostles, the brethren, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brethren and others knew that Jesus had given a promise that He would send the Holy Ghost unto them and yet they did not know when that day would come. Jesus never declared unto the disciples when the promise of the Father would indeed come and therefore they needed to both tarry and wait for that day when the promise of the Father would indeed be poured out and released.
I previously mentioned how we are presently living in days of great choice and decision and I am absolutely convinced this is something which must needs be carefully considered if we are to experience that which the eternal and living God desires for us in the days which are ahead. I firmly believe that with everything we have witnessed over the past two plus years a dividing line has been drawn in the sand. I absolutely believe that with everything we have seen and witnessed in the previous two years—even the days in which we are presently in right now—we are being forced to choose and we are forced to decide which side we are on. What’s more is we are not only being forced to choose which side we are on but we are also being forced to choose whose side we are on. This reality was such that was manifested in the wilderness when Moses and Joshua would come down from the mountain as the children of Israel were not only giving themselves to idolatrous worship but were also giving themselves to adultery and fornication at the foot of the mountain. When Moses and Joshua came down from the top of the mountain Moses would not only cast the stone tablets to the ground in anger but he would also call all those who were on the Lord’s side to gather themselves unto him. The tribe of Levi would hear and respond to Moses’ call for all those who were on the Lord’s side and would then be called upon the take up a sword wherewith they might go throughout the camp and purge the camp of its immorality, idolatry and that which was offensive in the sight and presence of the living God. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for in the days in which we are living right now.
The more I think about and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the days in which we are living and how in the days in which we are living we are indeed and are in fact being called to choose which and whose side we are on. If you carefully examine and look at the hot topics which were and have been present in recent days you can and will see that men have been forced to choose which side of these issues they are on—if they haven’t and hadn’t already decided. In recent days—perhaps more than every before—we have been forced to choose and decide where we stand on issues of same sex marriage, on issues of transgender issues, on the LGBTQ issue, on the abortion issue and many other issues. Over the past two years this nation were indeed divided along partisan lines as you were either those who voted for Trump or you were those who did not, had not and would not vote for him. Over the past two years there was a divine line that was drawn within and throughout this nation in terms of the vaccine as there were those who were indeed pro-vaccine and did in fact get the vaccine and those who deliberately and intentionally chose not to get the vaccine. I am convinced that over the past two years—perhaps more than ever before—we have been forced to choose which aside we are on as it pertains to the various issues of the day. There has even been recent legislation that has been drafted into law concerning guns within this nation and men have been forced to take a position and choose which and whose side they are on. It is indeed true that we are living in the last days and as such we are being forced by heaven to choose this day whom we will serve. There is and there must be absolutely no mistaking this when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the choice and decision we are willing to make.
I sit here right now thinking about and considering the days and the generation in which we are living and I am brought face to face with the incredible reality that within he days in which we are living we are being asked to choose whom we will serve. It is indeed true that Jesus is coming back to gather together unto Himself His disciples—those who have died in Him and those who are alive and remain—and yet the truth of the matter is that we have indeed and have in fact been called to choose this day which side we are on. There is and there perhaps has never been a greater time in the history of this nation when we are being called to take a stance and pick a side and make a decision on whose side we are on. Just like the children of Israel needed to make a decision whose side they were on during the days of the wilderness so also are we being called to make a decision whose side we are on. What’s more is that just as Joshua called the children of Israel on the other side of the Jordan in the Promised Land to choose whom they will serve so also are we being called in this generation to choose whom we will serve. With this being said there is a great need for us to make the decision on where we stand on the hot button topics and issues that are plaguing and have plagued this nation. We as the people of God are being forced to make the decision on where we stand concerning the issues that have been at the forefront of this nation over recent years. Even as I’m writing these words the Supreme Court of the United States overturned a ruling that has been in existence for almost fifty years as they overturned Roe v. Wade and delivered the matter of abortion into the hands of the individual states. This concept of abortion has long sparked debates throughout this nation and leading up to the potential for this decision there have been countless protests on both sides of the issue. What’s more is that there were a great number of individuals who were indeed offended at the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States and many vowed to continue to fight and to protest. Oh what makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how Jesus Himself declared that in the Last Days many would indeed be offended. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew as well as the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the same gospel:
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loveth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:4-14).
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matthew 24:21-28).
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:29-35).
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were acting and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:36-42).
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to this concept of decision and choice as I have set forth in this writing. I fully realize and recognize that the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts might not seem like it has anything to do with choice or decision, however, I would argue and contend that those who were present on the day of Pentecost needed to make a choice and decision whether or not they would abide and remain in Jerusalem. They were given the command to tarry and wait in the midst of the city of Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high—this after Jesus had showed Himself alive unto them after he had been raised from death to life. There were a total of five hundred whom Jesus had revealed and showed Himself alive unto after he had been raised from death to life and yet there were potentially only one hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for there are those who not only believe that we are living in the last days but are living in days leading up to a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. With this being said there is a great need for us as the saints of God to recognize and understand that we are being called into a place of choice and decision. I do believe there will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the days which are ahead, however, with that outpouring is a mighty and powerful call given unto men and women tho choose whom they will serve. What’s more is there is a great need for men and women to choose where they stand on the issues that are and have been plaguing this nation in great measure over the past two plus years. There is indeed going to be a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days and men and women will indeed need to choose whom they will serve and whose side they are on. What’s more is men and women will need to choose where they stand on all the issues that have been and are dividing this nation—even if that brands you as being intolerant, bigoted, racist, a white supremacist, a fanatic, and the like.
I find it absolutely necessary to leave you with the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus concerning Moses coming down from the mountain and the clarion call he issued to those who were on the Lord’s side. What’s more is I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua and the clarion call and invitation he would give—much like the call which he heard Moses himself make in the generation in which he was present. Both Moses and Joshua gave a clarion call unto the children of Israel whose side they were on and whom they would serve and this is something we must needs recognize and acknowledge within our own generation during these days. We as the saints of God must needs recognize and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to choose whose and which side we are on—and not only which side we are on but whose side we are on and where we stand on matters that directly contradict and go against that which is found in Scripture. Oh we as the people of God need to hear the clarion call of the Father in these last days and firmly resolve within our hearts and minds where we stand on what is written in Scripture for we either believe, accept and follow it or we don’t. There is no middle ground and there is no grey area for we must needs choose whose side we are on, we must needs chose which side we are on and we must needs choose where we stand on all those issues which have been plaguing this nation in great measure over the past two plus years. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Joshua—and not only this but also that which is found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy:
“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day” (Exodus 32:26-29).
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; IN that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
“And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Torah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red Sea. And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side of Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye ought possess their land; and I destroyed them before you. Then Belak the son of Zippor, king of Moab arose and warred aginast Israel, and sent and calle dBalaam the son of Beor to curse you: But I would nor hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: So I delivered your out of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashintes, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:2-15).