A Great Gift After Resurrection Sunday!
Monday, April 13, 2020 • Damon Stuart
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:20-22)
The Days After Resurrection Sunday...sounds like a movie title doesn't it?
As we celebrated this weekend the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, I was imagining what the followers of Jesus must have been thinking and feeling once Jesus was dead and buried. They still hadn't figured out all of the parables and messages Jesus had been telling them regarding His death and resurrection.
Thank God that He has so much patience, grace and mercy with us and with His disciples as He was about to release an even greater gift to them and to us.
As we look at these verses, Jesus tells His disciples that as His Father sent Him, He was now sending them as well. Notice though that as soon as He says this, He breathed upon them and says "Receive the Holy Spirit." Then He says, "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." All of this transpires before we even get to Acts 2, where on the Day of Pentecost; the Holy Spirit came and filled them all in the upper room.
From the time Jesus rose again on the 3rd day, He appeared to the disciples and other people to confirm the word of His testimony and to fulfill the prophetic words declared throughout the Old Testament. During the next 40 days, in Acts 1, Jesus proved to all the He was the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
In Acts 1: 8 Jesus gives them the instruction and ministry calling that applies to us today. Let's read it:
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
The greatest gift, after the price of salvation on the cross, is that we too can receive the Holy Spirit! In fact, without the power of the Holy Spirit, how effective will we really be as witnesses throughout the earth? If Jesus had to minister up to His death through the power of the Holy Spirit, shouldn't we?
The days after Jesus died and rose again had to be exciting for the disciples of Jesus. I can't imagine what those conversations could have been like as they talked about all of these events that were happening right in front of them - and not with the religious leaders of the day.
As Jesus ascended into heaven and promised them the Holy Spirit, He was about to release His power, authority and the Kingdom into them that would forever change the world as we know it. That same Holy Spirit that came and filled them in Acts 2, is also available today for you and me. What a loving Father we truly have in that He would send His only son to die for our sins, but that He would then send the Holy Spirit to live in us and make us more like Jesus every day if we allow Him to.
I cannot imagine living today without first making Jesus Christ, my personal Lord and Savior. If you have not, then I urge you to ask Him in your heart today because He is so in love with you and wants to change your life forever.
The greatest part is that He doesn't just stop there; He wants to fill you with the Holy Spirit so that you can be filled with His identity in you, His power, love and compassion for a lost world. If you want this then just ask Him today to come and fill you and release everything that He has for you right now. It will change your life and you will become all that God intended for you here on the earth.
The Days after the Resurrection were awesome for sure, but living today through the power of the cross, the blood of Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit is the greatest adventure that we can have right now!