Reading: John 20: 19-23
Verse 19: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.
It has been quite a week for the disciples. There was the big splash of the triumphal entry on what we call Palm Sunday. It seemed as if everyone in Jerusalem was out there supporting Jesus. But right after the parade Jesus again speaks of His coming death – but it oddly seems closer now. Jesus teaches through the week and clashes with the Jewish authorities – seemed like a pretty ordinary week. Until Thursday night. They set up to celebrate the Passover and Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. He speaks of them becoming like servants too. Among other words, Jesus again promises them the Holy Spirit and explains some of what the ‘Counselor’ will do for them. Then, in a whirlwind of activity, Jesus is arrested, tried, and crucified. Suddenly their world is turned upside down. Their leader is gone and they fear for their lives. Hope died on that cross. They have seen the empty tomb and have heard Mary Magdalene tell of seeing the risen Lord.
But this night the disciples remain huddled together, hidden behind locked doors “for fear of the Jews”. Doubt and fear and grief and confusion had to be swirling in their heads. And then Jesus comes to them. He opens with, “Peace be with you”. He shows them His hands and His side. In mere seconds, the disciples’ mindset changes drastically. Again Jesus offers them peace then says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”. More than one probably thought back to the cross and wondered about being sent out into the world. Next Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into and into them. In His presence, with His breathe covering them, they must have physically felt the Holy Spirit enter them. Doubt and fear and… must have vanished in an instant.
These disciples will go out and spread the good news of Jesus Christ far and wide. They will speak with power and authority. All will give their lives for their faith. The Holy Spirit allowed the disciples to live out their faith without any fear of this world and without any fear of death. They knew that Jesus Christ was forever with them. May we follow their example as we live out our faith today and every day.