Acts 1:12-14 (ESV)
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 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. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
After the ascension, the disciples return to Jerusalem and gather in an upper room. The eleven remaining apostles are there, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. This is the inner circle of the church.
It’s striking that the women are mentioned here. At this point in history, women had no respect. Women weren’t even allowed to testify in court trials.
To the first century mind, their membership in the inner circle doesn’t make sense.
But it does here. Just as women were the first eyewitnesses to the resurrection, so women were in the first Christian leadership/prayer group. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer.
Note also that the Greek word translated here as “brothers” is “adelphois,” which can mean “brothers and sisters.” It can even mean “brothers and sisters in Christ” – which is exactly what is does mean in the next verse.
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, – Acts 1:15
Christianity was a leap forward in the treatment of women, but that was just part of a larger pattern. Race and class distinctions didn’t matter either.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28
Jesus has this thing about people who think they’re better than everyone else (think Pharisees).
Twenty centuries later, we’re still trying to get this right. The plan of salvation is completely humbling, yet we don’t seem all that humbled. We memorize all the right words, but do we take them to heart?
Ask God to open our eyes to our pride. How annoying it must be for Him to watch us receive His grace as if it’s a birthright.
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