We all have doubts and fears that we must deal with. Looking at Jesus gives us a clue as to how we should overcome them. When he comes to see the disciples after his resurrection, we find them behind a locked door. They still fear the retribution they might endure now that Jesus is not with them.
21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus encourages them with a hearty greeting and informs them that just as God sent him into the world to bring hope, he is now sending them out to teach the people. He gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit who will be their helper.
He shares the authority and presence of God with them as he breathes the Holy Spirit on them. The great commission is the command to carry this message throughout the world. But he doesn’t send just them. There were others who have been following him that also receive this purpose. It’s the same task that we are given as we commit our lives to his authority.
The Holy Spirt is a gift from God to each of us. The Spirit is there to help us to understand what we are to do. He helps us pray to God when we can’t find the words and urges us to help others to learn about God’s love and the sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us to receive eternal life. This is all about the forgiveness of sins which would never have happened if Christ wasn’t crucified. It was all part of God’s plan of redemption.
First, Jesus releases them from their doubts and fears with the greeting, “Peace be with you!”
Second, he tells them to go out and offer peace and his authority to all who will receive it.
Have you committed yourself to the purpose that God has for you? It’s a scary thing to accept that purpose when you don’t truly know what all it will require of you. Some people will be led to spread the gospel in far remote lands that will take them out of their comfort zones. Others will serve as preachers and other leaders within the church. Many more will be called to share their faith with unbelievers through connections they make at work or in a prison ministry.
Jesus came to earth in human form to serve as a way to rescue God’s creation. We have the same peace and same power that Jesus had.
We may not want to admit our fears and doubts, but they help us seek out wisdom. The fears may be helpful and necessary at times. Our peace may be challenged during these times.
The best thing for us has already happened. It’s the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
Just as God sent Christ to save the world and not condemn it, we are sent to show the world a better way through love.
Jesus gave the authority to announce forgiveness. To turn from their sins and bring love in the face of hatred.
The Holy Spirit gives the power to make sense out of all that God has done for us and how he makes a way for each person to receive redemption.
Have you really accepted the peace that Christ gives? The Holy Spirit gives us peace and we can offer it to others when we embrace the power of the Spirit within us. But if we can’t forgive others who’ve sinned against us, we can’t enjoy His peace. It hurts us to hold onto those sins, not the person who hurt us. They aren’t spending any time over them.
No condemnation. It’s not our place. Forgive and take the peace offered by the Holy Spirit.
We’ll wrap up this series in our next post.