Sunday 12 April 2015

Bible Book:

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (vv. 21-22)

John 20:19-31 Sunday 12 April 2015

Psalm: Psalm 133


What a tumultuous and traumatic few days the disciples hadendured in Jerusalem! Jesus, their beloved leader and inspiration,had been put to death in such a cruel fashion and in the midst oftheir grief and anguish they feared that they may be next. MaryMagdalene had claimed to have "seen the Lord" again (John19:11-18), but the disciples remained cowering behind lockeddoors, frightened and confused.

Many of the encounters with the risen Christ in the NewTestament have a mysterious quality to them, this one included, asJesus suddenly appeared amongst the disciples in the room withlocked doors. His first words to the disciples were of peace (verse19) - something of which they were in dire need - and his firstaction was to display his wounds (verse 20), helping to verify whohe was in what must have been an incredulous atmosphere. There wasmuch rejoicing! Jesus repeated his greeting of peace (verse 21) andbegan the process of restoring, resourcing and commissioning thedisciples in their task of sharing his mission and ministry.

"As the Father has sent me, so I send you" are both daunting andyet hugely affirming words. To be sent in the same way as Jesus isto tread a difficult path, and yet to sense the confidence Jesushad in them must have given the disciples a tremendous boost. Andthey weren't to go in their own strength or to rely on their ownfragile resources; Jesus "breathed on them and said to them,'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" The disciples would soon learn howsignificant a moment this was as they were transformed (Thomasincluded) from a small and fearful band into a growing andcourageous movement. These are critical, transitional moments anddays in the story of God's mission and the Holy Spirit is about totake centre stage.  

To Ponder

  • In what ways have you experienced God's peace and reassurancein difficult times?
  • Try to imagine being in that locked room with the disciples,both before and after Jesus appeared. What range of emotions wouldyou have experienced and what would you like to have askedJesus?
  • "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." How do you respondto these words of Jesus, spoken to the disciples but now alsospeaking to you?
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