It has been another amazing, beautiful, and very long day here in Israel. We were on foot for nearly the entire day (with the exception of one short bus ride, which I personally would have rather walked).
Our first stop for the day was at the “Upper Room”. This is the location in which it is believed that Jesus and his disciples would have gathered for the last supper.
How do we know that this is the right location?
Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome around 70 AD. It was pretty much flattened, and only a small remnant and a few buildings remained. This must have been one of the buildings that miraculously remained because it was written about by Bishop Epiphanius in 130 AD. He referred to it as “Mt. Zion” because there seemed to be a lot of early church activity in this location. The whole area became known as Mt. Zion, but it is not the biblical Zion that David originally captured (which is located southeast of Mt. Zion).
By the fifth century, the Byzantines came to Israel and constructed churches on the most important locations, including this particular spot which appeared to be a small Christian Church made up of early believers after the ascension of Christ.
The Upper Room is also likely the location of Pentecost. It is situated near King David’s Tomb, which Peter referred to during his Holy Spirit inspired speech at Pentecost.
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” – Acts 2:29, ESV
While we were sitting on the roof of the Upper Room, we talked about the Thursday night of passion week. We talked about how Jesus was now showing the disciples the full extent of his love.
Throughout most of the gospels, the text moves at what seems like lightning speed, but in John 13-17 we see six chapters that are devoted to a mere 6-8 hours of the life and ministry of Jesus. He is bringing his disciples in closer and he bears his heart to his disciples in these passages. Jesus is helping his disciples to see the Kingdom of God in a way that they cannot not see it going forward.
Once you see it, you see it. You can’t not see it.
It is such an interesting progression to think of how God sent the judges, but we wanted to be our own judge. Then God sent the kings, but we wanted to be our own king. Then God sent the prophets, but we wanted to decide on our own truth. Finally God sent his Son, and God sent his Spirit.
How could we possibly compete with that?!
Why would we even try?!