life & spirit
Peace, Power & Purpose
Thursday, August 16th, 2018
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were [a]assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:19-23
God’s elect established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are endowed with peace, power and purpose. The Bible has two parts : OT and NT. The NT has 27 books, four gospels to tell the life of Jesus, 21 letters to explain the meaning of Jesus for our lives, one history about the early church and one prophecy. All 27 of them deal with Jesus as alive, risen from the dead and the central living reality today in the hearts of God’s elect and the world.
The passage above describes on Jesus first appearance to all His frightened disciples after the resurrection. What did the risen Christ do and say to them? The Scripture reveals three facts on how Jesus dealt with them.
Furthermore, He prophetically bestowed three gifts on how to receive peace, power by His Spirit and our main purpose for existence.
Three Facts In What Jesus Did V19
The three facts on how the risen Christ deals with God’s elect today.
a. The doors were locked
Jesus did not have to open the door. He simply was there. This means that in our life, Jesus can access to where no one else can. He can access where no counsellors can, He can go where no doctors can go and He can reach us anywhere and anytime. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead fits Him to do what no one else can do. It is a healing wonder to contemplate that in all the complete layers of our life, which neither we nor anyone else can understand, are familiar territory to Jesus.
b. They were afraid
Their fear is totally understandable since their leader had been crucified. In this fallen world under the rule of Satan, the need for risen Christ is paramount. Fear originates from Satan and paralyses one’s life. The risen Christ will come when we cry out to Him in our fear. He helps us. Isa 41:10
c. Jesus came to them and stood in their midst
The point here is that the risen Christ came right into the middle of their meeting. He did not come to the edge and call out through the wall and deal with them as a distant deity. This is what Jesus wants for God’s elect today. He wants us to experience Him, to know Him and to enter into our lives where no one else can go. The risen Christ is within us and among us.
Three Gifts In What Jesus Says V20
What did Jesus say in His first appearance to His disciples? He gave them three gifts namely, peace, power and purpose. Many lives are ruined by conflict, weaknesses and aimlessness as a result of sin.
a. Peace be with you
We don’t initiate peace with Jesus by our actions. Jesus initiates peace with us. It is important to note that before Jesus says anything about power or purpose, He wants to establish peace. The order here is really important. The peace that Jesus gives is before and underneath any of our empowered actions or any of our purposeful deeds. The peace that Jesus offers the disciples is the peace Jesus attained through His baptism, death and resurrection. There are five relationships where the risen Christ brings peace into the lives of God’s elect. They are peace with Jesus, peace with God the Father, peace with others in Christ, peace with ourselves and peace with the world. Peace is first and it is a gift from God. All else is the effect of peace, not the cause.
b. Power by the Spirit
In vs 21-22, Jesus gives power and purpose to the disciples who are to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus was going to pour out the Holy Spirit when He ascends into Heaven. Acts 2:33 That happens about seven weeks after His resurrection. In John 20:22, Jesus performs a kind of acted out parable, “He breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.” He didn’t say, receive Him at the very moment. He said in effect, realize that my breath, my life, my word will be in the Holy Spirit. John 14:18 The power of the Holy Spirit is the only hope for accomplishing the purpose God has for God’s elect. Jesus declared that purpose in verse 21b, “as the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
c. Our main purpose for existence
Jesus comes to us and gives us His peace with God. Then He gives God’s elect power to do the kind of things that mere human cannot do like defeating our selfishness, loving others and treasuring Christ above all. Along with peace and power, Jesus gives us our central purpose for existence. Our great purpose of life is to do the will of God for the glory of God. In vs 23, Jesus alludes the ultimate purpose to His disciples “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” What Jesus is saying is this “when we tell people about the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am the One speaking through you, so that if anyone believes my Gospel Truth, I will forgive them. If anyone does not believe, I will not forgive them.”
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