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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Friday, April 20, 2018

“All Nations”

John 20:19-23

This scene takes place the evening of the first Easter Sunday.  The disciples have heard the report of the empty tomb and the testimony of Mary Magdalene and her friends.  Yet they have not yet seen Jesus.  The disciples are in hiding.  The door is locked.  They are afraid of the Jewish authorities.  Jesus appears to them.  He apparently passes through the door where he had earlier removed the stone that had barred the tomb.  We don’t fully understand the reality of Jesus’ resurrection body.

In the midst of their fear Jesus brings them a message of peace.  He says this to them twice.  Probably they were so amazed they couldn’t take this all in.  Jesus then makes this startling statement.  He says to them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  This is no less a miracle than the Resurrection itself.  These frightened disciples hiding behind a locked door are in no position to go anywhere.  Jesus was sent by the Father with the full authority of God.  He was both Son of God and Son of Man, the Savior of the world.  How could the disciples possibly be sent as Jesus was sent by the Father?

The obvious answer is that they have nothing in themselves that could begin to fulfill this mandate.  The only way this impossible task becomes possible is the fact that Jesus breathes on them and gives them the Holy Spirit.  This is an initial gift of the Spirit which of course will be received in its greatest measure at Pentecost (Acts 2).

The Holy Spirit will transform this small frightened group into leaders who will bring the gospel to the whole world.  They will have the power of God’s own forgiveness.  They have the experience of the Risen Christ.  They now have the power that comes from the Holy Spirit.  With this power they will accomplish things they could only have dreamt of before.

That same power has been promised to us as well.

Merciful and gracious God and Savior, take away my fears.  Give me your peace and empower me to be sent out as your witness through the Holy Spirit.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.