Scripture: John 20:19-31
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21)
Jesus commissions each of us to extend his work in the world today. We need not, out of false humility, believe we can do nothing great as he did. We must not, out of arrogance, go off message and remake him, his teaching, and his work to our own agenda. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you,” he told them and tells us.
First: the mission. Matthew describes Jesus’ mission as teaching, preaching, and healing (4:23; 9:35). Teaching tells us that the Christian faith has specific theological and ethical content. Preaching describes exhortation and encouragement to apply faith content to our walk with Christ and our work for Christ. Healing is the one we most likely fear. In part, we pay too much attention to the flamboyant “faith healers” and not enough to the balance, sane, and effective ministers of healing. Only when we pray for people will we see God work through us.
As Jesus sends us as he was sent, our work for Christ involves teaching the faith as he taught us, urging and encouraging people to walk with and work for Christ as outlined, and healing as we pray with others to be made whole.
Second: the method. Jesus does not begin his adult ministry until he becomes Spirit-empowered at the River Jordan (Luke 3:21-22). Similarly, he told the first disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:3-5). We received the Holy Spirit at our baptism, but we need regular refilling. When the writer of Ephesians tells the believers at Ephesus, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), he uses the present continuous tense. A better translation would be, “Keep on being filled with the Spirit.”
Lord Jesus, help us teach your truth, exhort and encourage one another, and be instruments of healing. Remind us to pray regularly for Holy Spirit empowering. In your name. Amen.
By Mark A. Pearson, Upper Room Disciplines 2012