Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 12-14 - Return to Jerusalem

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Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 12-14

Verse 12. “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, (Olive Orchard) which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.”

Verse 13. “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. (Verse 14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Verse 14. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Return to Jerusalem

We do not know if Jesus ascended from the Garden of Gethsemane. Regardless, the mountain that was the place of Jesus’ agony in prayer and then humiliating arrest was now the place of His triumphant ascension.

Where the verse says it was a “Sabbath day’s journey” it is not referring to their travel being done on the Sabbath.  Instead, a Sabbath day’s journey was 2,000 cubits, roughly equal to 1,000 yards or 914 meters. This is the only time the specific phrase is used in the New Testament. Jewish rabbis had taught 2,000 cubits was the distance a person could walk and it not be considered “work.”

These 2,000 cubits was a journey from vision to deed. On the Mount of Olives, they stood gazing upward and were visited by two angels. In Jerusalem, less than a mile away, was the task of acting on the vision Jesus had imparted. For a healthy person a mile is not a long distance. But it is always an amazing and significant mile when anyone makes the trip from vision to deed

The apostles carried out Jesus’ instructions. They did not scatter, but went at once to the upper room where they abode. It seems this was a temporary residence that had been used when Jesus and His closest followers were in Jerusalem.

An upper room was common. They still are. It was not elaborate. The “upper room” could be as simple as a booth made of branches erected on the flat roof of a stone building.

Some historians have it that this upper room was at the home of John Mark’s mother. If so, John Mark had a great deal of experience with the church before later traveling with Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey.

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