Gospel of John 20: 19-23 (NIV)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Suddenly this mission that Jesus announced to his disciples was laden with new meaning. They had of course heard it before; only seventy-two hours previously Jesus had prayed aloud to the Father : “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17: 18). That, however, was before the fearsome ordeal of his passion and death. Now they beheld him with new eyes; this One who stood in their midst was more than their “Teacher and Lord”, he was the resurrected Son of God.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” This restatement of their mission held an ominous edge. Formerly they had been sent out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9: 2). When others who were later sent as workers into God’s harvest field returned, they reported back to Jesus with joy (Luke 10: 1, 17). The “sending” now commanded by Jesus carried a new inference. They must be prepared to face the same hostility as did their Lord: betrayal, accusation, false conviction, torture and death.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Do you know that Jesus requires his twenty-first century disciples to accept the same mission? “As the Father sent Jesus” means there is an expectation of the same obedience which our Lord demonstrated in Gethsemane: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22: 42). We who call ourselves disciples of Jesus – are we willing to surrender everything to him, including life?
Jesus repeated to those locked in the upper room, “Peace be with you!” With the mission of Jesus comes the promise of his peace. This may not be peace as the world understands peace. It is, however, that real peace which flows from the certainty, the conviction, not only that we are doing his will but that we do it not in our own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peace be with you as you set out deliberately each day to follow him.
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