Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has risen from the grave! Not long after, He appears to His disciples who were shut-in behind closed doors in fear of the Jews. He reminds them as found in John 20:19-23, “peace be unto you…as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you…receive ye the Holy Ghost…Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins you retain they are retained”. I call these words “Post Resurrection Reminders”. Do you not agree that we all need reminders?
Peace – Jesus is reminding the disciples of what He told them in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Peace is being calm and fearless despite what we see or hear because we know God and trust His Word. Jesus is alive, He rose victorious over death and the grave so we do not need to fear death or disaster. God’s purposes will not be thwarted and He promised to always be with us. This reminder is very relevant as we navigate this season of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Bear Witness – He then reminds them of His Words in John 15:27, “…ye shall bear witness because ye have been with me from the beginning”. The disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ three-year earthly ministry. Today’s crisis can be the Body of Christ’s finest hour if we zealously show and tell Jesus and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Disastrous times inspire creativity. I coined a phrase a few years ago, “getting the gospel out by every available means”. I congratulate the Body of Christ for the innovative ways they are using to preach the gospel, pray, and serve during this season of social distancing. People need hope, are curious about Christianity, and God is drawing the lost and backsliders. As God’s laborers, let’s go forth to reap this ripe harvest!
Receive Power – Jesus reminds the disciples of His promise in John 14:6 “I will pray the Father and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” He then breathes on them to receive the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit made a spectacular entrance in the earth, baptizing 120 men and women in the Upper Room. This empowerment for miraculous service and victorious living was manifested that day in the birth of the New Testament Church with 3,000 souls. Jesus is soon to come and we His servants must operate in the power of the Holy Spirit as His vessels in the end-times. We need fresh refillings analogous to putting gas in our vehicles’ empty gas tanks.
Forgive – Lastly, Jesus brings back to their remembrance His words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:14, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ” Remit means to forgive or cancel. When we choose to not forgive others, God will not forgive us either. Like Jesus, we will suffer persecution for our faith. As He modeled on the Cross, we must forgive and continue to love all as we serve the purposes of God.
We give thanks to God that Jesus rose from the dead and that His words are eternal. His post resurrection reminders are just as relevant today as they were back then. Though we are currently shut-in in obedience to the law of the land, let’s not cower in fear. Instead let’s be at peace, bear witness, receive and operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, and forgive others. Let’s continue to be flexible, be content and not lament as we continue to serve God in new ways during this abnormal period.
I , too, have a reminder for you. Always remember, that Jesus said in John 14:3, “… if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”. That’s the Christian’s blessed hope that Jesus will come back to personally escort us to Heaven! No one knows when He will come but let’s be ready and continue to occupy til then. Hallelujah!