When Jesus Says, ‘Just like Me,’ He Shows What That Means
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
This is one of those sections that packs a bigger punch if you read it backwards.
Jesus told the disciples, receive the Holy Spirit. It was a command and an instruction of what was about to happen. The Helper that He told them about at the last supper, the way that He Himself would be with them forever, was about to show up. You’re going to have God’s help, the way of life that the Torah-law pointed to, the hearts of flesh that Jeremiah talked about, come upon you and be in you right now.
And you’re going to need it.
“As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Just like Jesus was sent from God to carry out God’s work and to preach God’s message, the disciples are sent out to do the same. They will go with God’s power. They will teach what God wanted the people to know. They will show off God’s power to the poor and the lost. They will be in constant contact with the living God to know what to do. He won’t leave them but He’ll be in their midst wherever they go. That presence will give them peace. The peace of God will reign in their hearts as the go to awful places, experience awful things, and deal with awful people. It’s in that setting that God’s peace will be with them. Full, holy, shalom peace is with them now that Jesus is standing in their midst, and it will go with them as the Holy Spirit rides around inside of them.
All of this coming from Jesus, just risen from the dead. Death can’t stop you. If Jesus could walk up out of the land of the dead, He can walk in and out of a locked room. Are you going to get whipped and hung on crosses? Don’t worry, look at my wounds, Jesus says. They’re all better now. Are you going to be afraid and lock yourselves up in a room? You’ll walk in and out of locked prisons just like I showed up in here.
Don’t have fear. Don’t be afraid. Jesus stands among us and He is still reminding us, “I have sent you.”