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"Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath's walk from the city." NIV translation
This verse gives us an example of simple obedience to the Lord. You see, for the apostles, Jerusalem was not their home but, because Jesus told them to, they went there to wait. They were promised a gift (Holy Spirit) but, if they had chosen to go their own way, they would have missed out on that gift. How many times do we, as Christians, miss out on blessings from God because we choose to go our own way?
The second part of the verse "a sabbath's walk from the city", brings such joy to my heart. It reminds me of the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. You see, without Christ's sacrifice, every aspect of life was covered by a law even down to how far you could walk on a Sabbath. Thank God that, through Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the bondage of the law. Even so, today, many local churches try to make up various rules as to what it takes to be a part of their group or denomination. Why do we as people try to go back to bondage instead of rejoicing in our freedom and savior?
"When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James." NIV translation
Can you imagine what the conversation was like? These men had just watched Jesus ascend into heaven. While they waited for the Spirit to be given, they only had each other.
Why didn't God send the Spirit right away? When was this promised gift going to come? Were they going to be arrested and crucified like Jesus?
The eleven remaining apostles simply trusted and obeyed Jesus.
Would I have been that faithful? Sometimes, I wonder and many times I have failed with lesser challenges than those. Even so, to me, this passage shows us the value of a community of believers. We, as Christians today, have the Holy Spirit but there is still tremendous value in having a group of brothers/sisters in Christ that you meet and serve with.
"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." NIV translation
How big a part does prayer play in your life? It says here that, for the early church, it was a constant thing. It was intentional and natural. That, my friends, is what happens when you realize the power that you have through the Spirit and the gratitude and love you have from knowing our Savior. Is prayer a vital part of your life or is it a ritual that you go through? For a short story concerning the power of prayer, check out Simon's Tears.