A Short History of Upper Rooms
Part 1 The Secret Place is an upper room
The secret place is the power source for the public square.
What has always surprised me is that there were ONLY 120 in that upper room at Pentecost. Jesus had appeared to as many as 500 at one time[i], and most likely repeated the instruction to stay in Jerusalem and “wait for what the Father had promised”[ii]. I wonder what reasons the 380 had for not joining the others in the upper room for this signal event. My worry is that today, out of every 500 that have met the risen Christ, only 120 search out the upper room, while 380 do not take advantage of the amazing opportunity presented!
All the promises of God are “in Christ”, the metaphorical upper room in every believer. I think most of us seriously undervalue this access and underestimate the power from on high available when we wait there. It is the meeting place that Jesus has prepared for us, saying ‘see you there’[iii] before He left. This place He provided is the most significant difference between being a believer in Jesus and every other religion.
In this blog series, let’s explore the biblical trail, a short history of upper rooms that will motivate us to “seek the things above where Christ is seated”[iv] and find the entrance.
“In Christ” is a Secret Location
We are hidden from the conspiracies of men “in the secret place of His Presence”[v] says the Psalmist. My life is “hidden with God in Christ”. The upper room was a secret place of intimate communion at Passover, and then the gateway to an open heaven at Pentecost. In both cases, the meeting place was a secret.
Why the secrecy?
Peter and John, the two emissaries from Jesus spotted the man carrying the pitcher of water. He seemed to be expecting them, making quick eye contact. He made an abrupt turn. They followed him at a discreet distance and watched as he entered a large house. They waited a bit, surveying the area. Then they knocked on the door. The owner answered the door.
“The Teacher asks, “Where is the guest room where He can celebrate the Feast?”.”
He showed them a large upper room fully prepared. Had the Master made those arrangements?
Judas had already negotiated his blood money, and it was now simply a matter of relaying the location where the High Priest’s henchmen could do the snatch. However, the arrangements for an upper room had been made clandestinely. Enemies would not be granted the opportunity to enter this room of intimate communion. Our secret place also has restricted access. The enemy cannot intrude.
That strategy mirrored the pattern of Jesus’ own personal habit of spending time alone with His Father amid His public ministry. At the Passover supper, He modeled the secret place of communion that every believer needs in order to represent Christ publicly. In our experience, it symbolizes that first supernatural encounter with Jesus, where we pass over from death to life, from slavery to freedom from sin, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His marvelous light. In that communion, we become partakers for the first time of His divine nature.
The upper room is a place of power. Another upper room, or perhaps even this same upper room became the venue for the ten-day wait that preceded the Second Feast of the Lord, which we call “Pentecost”. Here the “Promise of the Father”, the Holy Spirit, the power from on high, made “Christ in you” the experiential reality. “Christ in you” becomes a reality for us when we act on the invitation to be “in Christ”. The glory of God was exposed to the crowd, and the outcome was 3000 people were added to the church. The secret place is the power source for the public square. As we are immersed in the Holy Spirit we again become partakers of His divine nature. His supernatural nature is natural to Him. Our Pentecostal encounter is the firstfruits taste.
We are en route to the Third Great Feast of the Lord. This is the feast of fullness, a partaking of the fullness of His divine nature[vi]. We are being drawn to an upper room He has prepared in advance not for 12 or 120 guests, but for an entire generation. The upper room for this Feast is “not of this world” but it is still the ages-old secret place. It is “in Christ”.
This place of intimate communion is a private room. It is the antechamber to Father’s house. It is a holy place. It is the meeting place between heaven and earth, a beachhead for the kingdom of heaven invading earth.
Looking for directions
“Excuse me, Holy Spirit, I am looking for the kingdom of heaven which is within me, could you give me some directions?”
“Yes, it is in the secret place”.
“Where is that?”
“It is a secret. Follow Me.”
Those who are thirsty are encouraged to follow the One Who has the water of the word, just as the disciples followed the man with the pitcher of water to that first upper room[vii]. He will lead you to the secret place prepared for you.
As we explore this place of mystery, hidden in every believer, we find that it is a portal of access into the otherworld reality of the Spirit. It is the House of God and the Gateway to Heaven. The secret of the Lord’s own ministry is that He carried the heavenly portal with Him wherever He went. The secret of accomplishing the “greater works of Christ” needed for “the kingdom to be within reach” is maintaining our access to the secret place.
When it comes to God communing with man, the upper room secret place has a long history. Each historical type we will look at teaches us something we need to know, providing us with the access code to this wonderful private place of intimate partnership with the Lord reserved for those who are in awe of Him.
[i] 1 Corinthians 15:6
[ii] Acts 1:4
[iii] John 14:18-20
[iv] Colossians 3:1
[v] Psalm 31:20
[vi] Ephesians 1:23
[vii] Mark 14:13