These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
We have an interesting group in our text above. About 120 people were gathered in that upper room, waiting for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and among that group, joining together in prayer and supplication, were men and women. What’s the big deal with that fact? Well, jewfaq.org states the following concerning Jewish rules regarding prayer: “According to Jewish Law, men and women must be separated during prayer, usually by a wall or curtain called a mechitzah or by placing women in a second floor balcony.” I don’t read of any walls in our text! In fact, Gal 3:28 explains “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I understand that functionally, men and women have different roles in God’s kingdom (1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Tim 2:12) for now, but positionally, we are all one in our relationship to Christ. In fact, men, we are to learn from the women how to properly relate to Christ because spiritually, as members of the church, we are the bride and Christ is the husband! (Eph 5:32) Thank God for the oneness that all God’s children enjoy in Jesus Christ!
The wall separating men and women in the synagogue wasn’t the only one that Christ tore down. Eph 2:14-16 says, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” The two groups that were separated according to v. 11 were the Gentiles and Jews. Gentiles were limited to the outer court of the temple and not permitted to enter where the Jews were allowed to worship. No more is this distinction made in our approach to God for we are all on equal footing before the Lord! In fact, this plan was part of the mystery of God that was hidden from the beginning. Just listen to Eph 3:3-6: “…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel…” Similar to the fact that all the church is spiritually feminine, we have all in Christ become spiritual Jews per Rom 2:28-29: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
Finally, there is one other wall of separation that the Lord abolished through His death. There was an area in the temple that even the average Jew was not able to enter. Not even every priest could enter here. In fact, per Heb 9:7, the “high priest went alone once a year” into this most holy chamber. In the tabernacle, this area was where the ark of the covenant was placed, and it was here that God dwelled in His glory. This portion was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil, but do you remember what happened when Christ the mighty Maker died! Lk 23:45 says, “Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.” Hallelujah! The place of most intimate communion with God is now made accessible to those who are in the eternal High Priest, Christ Jesus! “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb 10:19-22) May we this day enjoy all the benefits made accessible by the blood of the Lamb of God, confessing with our mouths AND our lives, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12)