the upper room | John 13:2-4a
2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. John 13:2-4a | ESV
And now they’re in that upper room – and more than just the table has been set for supper; the stage has been set for the final act: the devil/deceiver/schemer had planted the thought of betraying Jesus for a price deep into the heart of Judas Simon Iscariot where it festered in the dark.
But Jesus focused in on this certainty: Abba had fully empowered him, was fully backing and owning him – the God who had sent him to begin with and who would now receive him in the end.
MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
The upper room.
In that culture, downstairs was the place of work, of cooking and smoke and smells – especially since it often doubled as the animal barn. So the upper room was the place family and friends went to enjoy meals and celebrate life. Jesus chose to spend his final hours in the world divided between the upper room with his friends (aka disciples) and the garden with his Abba.
The upper room speaks of intimacy, of fellowship, of friendship. Knowing the time, Jesus knew this was no time for isolation. No time for retreating to the desert. It was also no time for large, impersonal, needy crowds. It was a time for them – for his friends –not just because they needed him, but because he needed them.
Jesus chose the twelve that they might “be with him” and then he would send them out to preach. Jesus didn’t weather his life and work alone. He was accompanied by friends from the get go. No sooner had the waters of his baptism dried off his skin than he had Andrew and John following him, asking to see where he was staying. They were soon joined by Simon, by Philip, by Nathaniel. And when he went to seek out his Abba’s face in that garden, he still took his friends, taking his three closest friends with him even further. “Watch with me,” he urged them.
“Join or die” reads the banner of our forefathers.
To know the time is to know that wisdom, to know that we cannot make this journey alone, to know that I desperately need to find my own upper room.
Where is your “upper room”? With whom are you making your own journey day in and day out?
Abba, deliver me from unhealthy patterns of both independence and co-dependence; replace with them a life-giving interdependence on others. Show me how to belong to others in healthy ways. Lead me to the upper room you have for me. Through Jesus.