Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014 - Along the way ...

Today I am utterly amazed.  Following the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the Bible records an amazing blessing spoken by the risen Jesus to His disciples.

(Read John 20:19-23)

"Peace be with you".  

It was a common greeting used by Jews.  It is a wish for complete well-being (peace) in mind, body, and soul; peace with others and with God.  Yet when the risen Jesus speaks that same greeting it takes on entirely new meaning.  There is peace because Jesus is alive!

"As the Father has sent me so I am sending you".

How did the Father send Jesus?   Jesus Himself described his own calling in Luke 4:18-19 when he read from the scroll of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2) and declared that those words had been fulfilled in their hearing.  If Jesus was sent with the Spirit of the Lord to proclaim good news, freedom, and the year of the Lord's favor, then I imagine Jesus has the same in mind for us.

"Receive the Holy Spirit".

These are the most amazing words in all of Scripture.  The Holy Spirit is the gift Jesus gives to all who believe.   The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit of the LORD that was on Jesus.  It is the same Spirit that enabled God to raise Jesus from the dead, and that same Spirit now lives in us!  We are empowered to take up Jesus' calling with the same power Jesus Himself received.  Amazing!

"If you forgive ... If you do not forgive ..."

These words are a little more difficult to understand.  We are not given the authority to forgive or not forgive whoever we choose, whenever we choose.  Rather we are given authority to proclaim God's forgiveness available in Jesus for those who believe.  Forgiveness and reconciliation (peace with God) comes through faith in Jesus, and unless we tell about it, people will not know the truth.

In short, this is quite the calling!  Even so, we have been given the Holy Spirit, so we can be sent by Jesus as Jesus was sent by His Father.  Amazing!

So what about you?  What do you find amazing (here or elsewhere)?  I invite you to share your thoughts as we journey together along the way ...

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