Today, Jeannie and I celebrated the Lord’s resurrection in Richmond, Virginia, our new home town. We experienced wonderful worship, great preaching, and an outstanding Bible study at Grove Avenue Baptist Church. After the service we went to the home of some dear missionary friends and enjoyed a great meal, warm fellowship, and another time of opening the Scripture and prayer. Wow! What a way to begin our time in this new ministry assignment God has entrusted to our stewardship.
We worship and serve a living Savior! That fact in itself distinguishes Christianity from all other world religions. Never has a message been so desperately needed in a lost and hurting world. And never should believers be more ready to share the simple truth of the Gospel than right now.
This afternoon, I’ve been thinking about the challenging days before us. Reading John’s account of that first evening following the resurrection has filled me with such encouragement and hope. What the Lord provided for those trembling disciples hiding in the upper room, He provides for you and me today. These are the results of the resurrection. I need each one desperately and imagine that you need them as well. Take a moment to reflect on John 20: 19-23, and meditate of the provisions of our resurrected Lord.
1. Distinct Peace (19). Christ’s first words to the fearful disciples was a promise of peace. “Peace be with you,” said the Lord as He suddenly appeared among them. And that message has become the hallmark of the Christian faith. It is in Christ that we find peace with God, an abiding peace that enables us to then share God’s love with a troubled world. Our world is reeling with unrest right now, an unrest that troubles the heart of anyone who does not know Christ. But to know Christ is to rest in Him and to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. The living Christ provides a vital, distinct peace.
2. Definite Proof (20). The disciples must have been aghast at this sudden appearance of Christ. They had heard rumors of the resurrection. Mary had spoken of His appearance, as had two men who had just returned from Emmaus. Peter and John had spoken of the empty tomb. But now, here He was among them. To assuage their doubts and strengthen their faith, Jesus showed them both His hands and His side. John is writing as an actual eye witness to this event, a witness that is firmly attested by many others. We serve a real Redeemer, not a mere figment of human imagination.
3. Deliberate Purpose (21). “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” Though this is an uncomfortable equation, there can be no doubt as to our purpose here on earth. Christ co-missions us! We are to live in aggressive cooperation with God’s great plan for the redemption of lost mankind by being bearers of the message of Christ. Everything I do is to be measured by this plumb line: Is this in some way a means of fulfilling the Lord’s great commission to us? That single purpose should guide the thoughts and energies of my life. That is the very essence of Christ-likeness.
4. Divine Power (22). “Receive the Holy Spirit,” commanded the Lord as He breathed of them. From Pentecost forward, the Holy Spirit has been God’s great gift to every true believer. We are, in fact, the very temple of God’s Spirit, Who when allowed absolute reign in our lives, powerfully reveals Christ through us to a lost and dying world. We are not powerless in the fulfilling of our mission! As we surrender to the Lordship of Christ, the Holy Spirit fills our lives, enabling us to be Christ-like. Now that is power from on High.
It is no mere coincidence that this first meeting between the resurrected Lord and His followers is recorded for us. I, for one, needed to reflect on this record of that first meeting with the resurrected Lord. And maybe you did as well.
He is risen…indeed!
2 Tim 1:12