The Banquet Room, the War Room

This journey began in the upper room the night before Christ was crucified.  John 13-17 describes the intimate setting as Christ described the full extent of His love.  He told them that He was going to a place where they could not go, but that He would leave them the Holy Spirit to indwell them, teach them, and comfort them.  The disciples, due to lack of comprehension, were filled with confusion and frustration.

The events intensify as we describe them using the metaphor of rooms.  The disciples, as a result of the crucifixion of Christ, had lost their champion they believed would restore Israel as a political power.  Their hopes of national restoration were severely diminished.  They were huddled in a panic room for fear of retaliation from Jews and Romans.  The resurrected Christ suddenly appeared in the room.  After rebuking them for their lack of belief, He offered them His peace, and then commissioned them to take the good news of His kingdom to the nations.  This task could only be accomplished via the Spirit, which they had not yet received.

The resurrected Christ appeared to His followers over the next forty days.  At Bethany He spoke more of the coming of the Spirit, saying that they would be immersed in the Spirit’s power and be His witnesses to the world.  This saga intensified exponentially as Jesus ascended into heaven, where this God-man is at the helm of the entire cosmos.  The first chapter of Acts catapults us to the throne room of Revelation 4-5.  The disciples, standing in amazement, were told by angelic messengers to return to Jerusalem and wait there for ten days for the Spirit to come.

What began in an upper room in Jerusalem was about to come to critical mass in another room in Jerusalem.  Initially this space is a waiting room.  Ten days must pass before the manifestation of the Spirit.  Instead of using all of their energy planning what they would do for God, they used that energy to seek God through prayer and obedience to the Scriptures. 

Then suddenly there was the sound of a rushing wind and the appearance of tongues of fire, as the Holy Spirit was coming to indwell them.  There was the sense of expectation, participation, and revolution.  As Acts 1 pointed us to Revelation 4-5, this second chapter of Acts launches us toward Revelation 19-20, where we experience the banquet room, and where we encounter the war room.  It is here at the Eucharist meal, love is embraced and we strategize our assault on evil.  Hundreds of years earlier the psalmist said that the Lord would “prepare a table in the presence of enemies.”  We must be fueled with the Spirit’s power and direction [banquet] before we plan our actions for the kingdom [war]. These are the polarities of the salvation that command our witness.