The Upper Room

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The Upper Room

(King David's Tomb)

 

Location

 

1. The Upper Room is in a second-story building in Jerusalem that commemorates where Jesus shared the Passover (Last Supper) with His disciples. 

 

2. It is located directly above the Tomb of David and near the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion.

 

3. It is also called the Cenacle Room, which means “dining room” in Latin.

 

4. On the first floor of the building is King David’s Tomb. It functions as a synagogue so a head covering for men must be worn. It is divided into three sections: (1) a small synagogue room (2) a men’s viewing area of David’s tomb, and (3) a women’s viewing area of the tomb.

5. The location of David's Tomb is likely  just a memorial place as Scripture says he was buried in the City of David (1Kings 2:10). 

 

Historical Background

 

1. The Upper Room is believed to be the location of the first Christian church.

 

2. Archaeological research reveals the Upper Room is built on top of a church-synagogue built by the first-century Jewish-Christian community of Jerusalem.

 

3. The location of the Upper Room has been the traditional site of the Last Supper since the fourth century AD. 

 

4. In the 5th century, the church was referred to as "Zion, Mother of all the Churches.”

 

5. The Upper Room that pilgrims visit today was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century as part of the Church of St. Mary of Zion. The Gothic-era columns seen today were from this time era.

 

6. The buildings around the Upper Room are remains of a Franciscan medieval friary from around 1335.

 

7. The Upper Room was transformed into a mosque by the Ottomans in 1524, and a prayer niche is embedded on the south wall, directed towards the Islam cities of Mecca and Medina.  

 

8. The Upper Room building is currently managed by the State of Israel Ministry of the Interior.

 

9. It’s very likely that the Upper Room was used for more than the Passover meal. It could also have been where Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, where Matthias was appointed the apostle to replace Judas, and where the disciples stayed while waiting for Pentecost. Some believe it’s also where Pentecost happened or began.

 

10. It seems logical that all these events shared the same Upper Room as the man who allowed Christ to use his large room for the Passover meal was probably a follower of Christ who continued to allow the disciples to use it.

 

Places of Interest

 

1. The Upper Room

 

  • Crusader remains

  • Capital on a pillar above the Crusader remains depicting events from the Last Supper

  • Model of an olive tree symbolizing the Garden of Gethsemane, grapes symbolizing the cup of wine, and wheat symbolizing the bread

  • Muslim prayer niche from the Ottoman period 

 

2. King David’s Tomb on first floor of building under the Upper Room

 

3. Temple Mount Southern Stairs

 

4. Royal Stoa

 

5. Mount Zion

 

6. Temple Mount

 

7. Zion Gate

8. City of David

The Upper Room in the Bible

 

1. Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples in the Upper Room.
Luke 22:11–13: And tell the master of the house, “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

 

2. The Upper Room is the likely place Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection.
John 20:19: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

 

3. After Christ ascended back to heaven, the disciples went to the Upper Room which was most likely their living quarters while they stayed in Jerusalem.
Acts 1:13–14: And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

 

4. It’s possible that the Upper Room is where Matthias was chosen to replace Judas.
Acts 1:15–16: In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.

 

Acts 1:26: And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

 

5. Some believe the Upper Room is where Pentecost happened or began.
Acts 2:1–4: When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

6. If Pentecost did begin in the Upper Room, it quickly moved outside somewhere by the Temple Mount Southern Stairs area as a multitude gathered and 3,000 were saved. The Upper Room couldn’t have accommodated the 15,000 – 30,000 people who would have gathered at this event.
Acts 2:5–6: Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.

 

Acts 2:41: So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

7. On the southern side of the Temple Mount, just above the Southern Stairs, was the Royal Stoa. It was a large covered public meeting place. This would be the most likely place where Pentecost began. Also, throughout Scripture the temple was referred to as a house.

 

(For a more detailed look at where Pentecost happened, please see “Temple Mount Southern Stairs”)

 

The Upper Room and Passover in the Bible

 

1. The meaning of the Passover.

The Passover was a celebration the Israelites observed each year in remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt as slaves. The last miracle performed by God was the killing of the firstborn of all people and animals. He gave a command to the Israelites, and to the Egyptians as well, to kill a lamb and put its blood on the door mantles and doorpost of their houses. In so doing, God would pass over that home and save those inside. Christ’ crucifixion during the Passover was a fulfillment of this covenant act. In the New Covenant, Christ is our Passover Lamb whose blood saves us from death and sin.

 

2. The Passover meal began with Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.
John 13:1–5: Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 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. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 

3. Christ taught about true love and servanthood.
John 13:12–16: When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 

 

4. Christ instituted the New Covenant at the Passover meal.
Matthew 26:26–29: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

 

5. The meaning of the bread.

 

  • The bread represents Christ’s body which was broken and crucified for our sin.

  • It speaks of the bread that was made without leaven for the rapid departure of the Israelites from Egypt.

  • It also represents the Israelite’s utter dependence on God for their sustenance during their time in the desert, and beyond.

  • Christ referred to Himself as the Bread of Life and the True Manna from heaven.  

  • Christ now becomes our unleavened bread and sustenance.

 

6. The meaning of the cup.

 

  • The cup represents the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross for the payment and forgiveness of our sins.  The blood being poured out is synonymous with Christ being crucified and shedding His blood.

  • There is also wedding imagery that is used in the taking of the cup. Receiving the cup was used for confirming an Israelite marriage much in the same way our modern-day ring vows do.

  • When we receive the cup, we are confirming our marriage to Christ.

 

Faith Lesson from the Upper Room

 

1. Christ gave a humbling example of true servanthood by washing the disciples’ feet. What kind of a servant am I?

 

2. Christ introduced the New Covenant at the Passover meal. Do I understand the meaning of the bread and the cup?

 

3. Is Christ my sacrificial Passover Lamb or am I separated from God and in danger of His judgment?


 

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The Upper Room

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