Following Jesus put the disciples under great pressure. Leaders measure their true followers by how they handle the places of pressure. Anyone can follow through exaltation; it takes a special person to follow during aggravation. When things intensified with Jesus, great contention, wrestling, and turmoil followed. Jesus died in such a humiliating way that it left doubt, fear, and disarray.
Now that Jesus was dead, the heat was on those who followed him. The pressure was so great on Jesus’ disciples that Peter denied following Him, and the disciples went into isolation. They locked themselves behind closed doors, fearing the Jews. They were isolated and in trouble, because death was right outside the door. They dared not venture from home for danger waited outside. They found safety in hiding.
The disciples hid, trying to preserve their lives – much like us today. We are in isolation because death is at our doorstep. We would rather be bored and safe than excited or dead. Those were the disciples’ choices: Get out and fellowship and be killed or stay safe inside.
In the midst of their isolation, they experienced seclusion. Seclusion, an open invitation for Jesus. To isolate is to insulate from the possibility of anything happening in our lives. Seclusion is different. It creates an atmosphere for Jesus to enter in and finally have a private moment with us. Jesus had given up on public displays. Even when He rose from the dead, He did not seek out crowds. He only sought those who knew and believed in Him.
The disciples who were locked behind closed doors, fearing the Jews, were in isolation. However, the disciples who were in the Upper Room were not in isolation; they were in seclusion. In the Upper Room, the disciples weren’t waiting for a safe escape; they were waiting for a visitation from the Holy Ghost.
To the outward man, it looks like nothing had changed, but a shift happened in seclusion. No longer were they in isolation for fear of what the world might do; they were in seclusion waiting to see what God would do. Between these two polarities, God’s visitation changed the narrative. If God ever visits you, the situation may look the same, but it won’t be the same, because one visit from God changes everything.
Are you in isolation or seclusion?
And that’s the memo.
By T.D. Jakes