Then returned they to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.…
It is on Thursday, probably in the evening, that the disciples return to Jerusalem. Did they expect to receive it that very night? This we know not; but we do know that then opened a new era in the intercourse of man with heaven. As they began to pray, how would they find all their conceptions of the Majesty on high changed! The glory of the Father encompassing a human form, a beaming from a human brow! Mingling with this first joy for the Master's exaltation would be the feeling, "He has entered for us within the veil! He maketh intercession for us!" Hush! which of the-twelve is it that says to the brethren — "Let us ask the Father in His name"? (John 16:23-24). The angels had often sung together over the prayer of repenting sinners, Now, for the first time, they hear prayers authorised and accredited by the name of the Only-begotten of the Father. That name has just been set "above every name"; and as it echoes through the host on high, with the solemn joy of a hundred believing voices, "things in heaven" bow. What must have been that moment for the saints in Paradise, who had seen the Saviour afar off, but never known the joy of praying directly in His name! Father Abraham had "rejoiced to see His day." What would be His gladness now? David, what would be "the things" which, in that wonderful moment, his voice would sing, "touching the King"? Oh, the joy of that first hour of praying in the name of Christ! What short and burning petitions would go up from the lips which first quoted, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He shall give it you!" But the Spirit has not seen it good to hand down the strong and tender collects of these ten days. Then surely it is unlawful to impose good forms of prayer upon all men, because ancient saints wrote them. He who will never use a form in public prayer casts away the wisdom of the past. He who will use only forms casts away the hope of utterance to be given by the Spirit at present, and even shuts up the future in the dead hand of the past. Does any one of the hundred and twenty up to this moment forget that Thursday night? The Friday morning dawns: the day the Lord had died. Would He not send His promised Substitute to-day? Now came back all His words about the death "which He should accomplish." Yet the Friday wears away, and no "baptism of fire"! The Saturday sets in; its hours are filled up as before, with prayer; but no answer. And now dawns the first day of the week, the day whereon He rose, the first Lord's day He had passed on His throne of glory. Surely they would expect that the blessing be delayed no longer. But the evening steals on, and all their prayers might have risen into a heaven that could not hear. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday pass. Their faith does not fail; still in the temple "praising and blessing God," or in the upper room in "prayer and supplication," they continue of one accord. Though He tarry, yet will they wait for Him. This is waiting. Some speak of waiting for salvation as if it meant making ourselves at ease, and dismissing both effort and anxiety. Who so waits for any person, or any event? When waiting, your mind is set on a certain point; you can give yourself to nothing else. You are looking forward and preparing; every moment of delay increases the sensitiveness of your mind as to that one thing. A servant waiting for his master, a wife waiting for the footstep of her husband, a mother waiting for her expected boy, a merchant waiting for his richly-laden ship, a sailor waiting for the sight of land, a monarch waiting for tidings of the battle: all these are cases wherein the mind is set on one object, and cannot easily give attention to another. To-morrow will be Thursday, a full week from the Ascension; that will be the day. The Thursday finds them, as before, "of one accord in one place"; no Thomas absent through unbelief. How the scene of that day week would return to their view! How they would over and over again, in mind, repeat the occurrences of a week ago! But the day wears on, and no blessing. Is not the delay long? "Not many days!" Does the promise hold good? They must have felt disappointed as the evening fell. Now is the hour of trial. Will their faith fail? Will some stay at home, or "go a-fishing," saying that they will wait the Lord's time, and not be unwarrantably anxious about what, after all, does not depend on them, but on the Lord? Or will they begin to find out that the cause lies in the unfaithfulness of their companions? Happily the spirit of faith and love abides upon them. Happy for them that none fancied He could fix upon .others the cause of their unanswered prayers! The Thursday is gone; eight days! The Friday and the Saturday follow it, marked by the same persistency in union, in praise, in prayer, and by the same absence of encouragement. Ten days gone! the promise, "Not many days," is all but broken. The final proof given by Peter, that he was waiting indeed, making all preparation for the event, was in calling upon his brethren to fill up the number of apostles.
(W. Arthur, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.