On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Pastor Mike McCoy
Vineyard Christian Fellowship (Concord)
Every Easter Sunday, we would go to my motherinlaw’s house for dinner. Upon arriving, Margie would call out to us, “HE is risen!” Our expected and joyfully given response would be, “HE is risen indeed!” This ancient call and response is being uttered throughout the world today by those who follow the risen Lord and King – Jesus of Nazareth. In the reality of this proclamation lie the invitation and the challenge of the risen Jesus.
It starts on the evening of the first resurrection Sunday. Jesus suddenly stands among His fearful disciples. He is alive and with them again, and they are filled with joy. How does the presence of the risen Jesus fill you with joy on this Easter Sunday?
Then He gives the invitation: “Peace be with you! Rest and don’t be afraid. I am here.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is with us, and He alone has overcome the power of evil, sin, and death so that we can rest without fear. He can and will take care of us and our world. And He has invited us to enter into His care. Do you want to receive the invitation of Jesus and learn to rest in Him without fear?
Next is the challenge: “As the Father sent Me, I am sending you!” Jesus was sent into the world to fulfill the Father’s purpose, and He sends His disciples into the world to continue His mission – to speak God’s word, do God’s works, and give their lives for the sake of others. Do you want to accept the challenge of Jesus and go to whom He is sending you?
Finally, Jesus breathed on His disciples and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, we cannot apply the invitation and the challenge of the risen Jesus to our lives. With the Spirit, we can live in peace and go in power to whomever Jesus sends us. Today, will you ask Jesus to breathe on you and fill you again with the Holy Spirit?
Jesus, please empower me to accept the invitation and the challenge of Your resurrection in my life – to live in Your peace and to go where You send me. AMEN.