Monday, April 06, 2015

A Thought, 6 April 2015

“The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the religious leaders, Jesus came and stood in the midst 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.  So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you!  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’.  And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  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 NKJV

“He is risen!” 

The familiar Easter mantra.  It is what we celebrate.  That which we usually refer to as “the final resting place” (the grave) is apparently not so final after all.  Jesus was killed, He was buried, and then He was raised from the grave.  The fat lady has not yet sung!

Still, what does it mean to us?  There are theological and doctrinal answers as to what we are told it is supposed to mean, but that does not answer what it actually means to the individual.  Depending on whom we ask, we will get all kinds of answers; but it usually falls on the side of “excuse”. 

“It means I don’t have to go to church.”

“It means I don’t have to obey The Lord’s Law.”

“It means I don’t have to do the religious thing.”

“It means I don’t have to do anything I don’t feel like doing.”

The tiresome list goes on for us, and it is all true; we don’t have to do anything.  Yet the disciples were not given much time to come up with their list of things they no longer “have to” do.  Hiding in fear for having been associated with this “blasphemer”, these guys were not thinking of lists.  In their fear they were trying to process what Mary Magdalene had come from the empty tomb to share (John 20:18).   Just as they were trying to wrap their minds around Mary’s report and all they had likely heard also from Peter and John, probably asking themselves what it all means, Jesus showed up and told them exactly what it means:  “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

With the Gift of the Holy Spirit and authority from Above to deal with the real power of sin, the Church has been so commissioned.  Not “these guys” or “some guys” – THE CHURCH, the Body of Christ!  According to the One who had been sent, all who claim allegiance are so sent.

It is past time to get over this notion of what The Resurrection means to “me”.  One’s personal witness, while important but when separated from the whole of the Church, becomes disconnected from the “Vine” (John 15:5).  Once the “branch” is completely disengaged from the Body (the “Vine”), it begins to wither and can no longer bear “fruit”.

We have not been saved from anything (even though we are “being saved”, 1 Corinthians 1:18); we have been called to something much greater, much bigger than self, much more important than simply “me”! 

Jesus was no “lone ranger” nor was He seeking “lone rangers”, so we should not fool ourselves into believing we are a church unto ourselves.  There is so much more for us, but we have to want it enough to reach for it.  So reach! 


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