Acts 5: 12, 17-32
Revelations 1: 4-18
John 20: 19-31
“I Am Sending You”
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
In our Gospel today, it is still the day of our Lord’s
Resurrection. Multiple of Jesus’ disciples have already witnessed the empty tomb; one of whom, Mary Magdalene, Jesus had already visited. And now it is evening. After witnessing this empty tomb, the disciples huddled into a room and locked the door for they became terrified of what the Jews might do to them, especially the high elders, now that news of the empty tomb was spreading, and fast. But there fear was quickly washed away as Jesus appeared before them stating once and then again, “Peace be with you.”
They became glad for they knew, after seeing his wounds, that this was indeed their Rabbi and Lord, not dead but truly alive. Any fear that they might have held on to went away as their minds were directed away from a potential attack from angry Jews and toward the amazing presence of Jesus who was right in front of them. With Jesus cemented in their hearts, with the knowledge that not even death could conquer him, nothing could hold a candle in their hearts to the joy and love and faith they felt in Jesus. No fear in anyone or anything, be it zealot or Pharisee, roman or king, courts or trial, or even death itself, nothing was capable of overcoming the joy they had in seeing Jesus.
And it is for this reason that I say it isn’t the fear of the Jews that traumatized the disciples, but fear of facing the Jews without Jesus by their side. Fear of abandonment was what gripped their hearts. They are like a demoralized army that finds out their king handed himself over to the enemy and was executed, or an army that finds out that their prince went into hiding. To those who
played sports, imagine what would happen to your team if your couch, after seeing the opposition, chooses to give up without even allowing the team to try. The disciples were like these examples, for the source of their courage, the one they placed their faith and hope in, the one whom they looked up to, was gone.
But with Christ present before them, the story changes; for they are instead like a little army who sees their king riding in battle before them. They are like a weak force infants to the heat of battle invigorated with shouts of Hoo-rah, as they see their mighty general slaying one enemy after another. They are like a sports team that just received a roaring speech from their couch, lighting a flame of hope in their bellies as they face a team that has never lost a match. They are like anyone who when faced with overwhelming odds against them face their titans head on for they have placed their faith in something higher. The fears the disciples faced didn’t go away because they found out the Jews no longer wished death upon them. Their fears were washed away because the King has returned. If the enemy was to take my life then so be it, for I know that my Lord lives, and my hope in him is stronger than any fear I once had.
They knew the Jews and the Romans didn’t give up on them. That troubling lot will eventually rear its ugly head and much death and suffering will come. This is most certainly true, and this is a fact that still remains. And it’s not like this was a fact that they forgot. Rather it was the fear that they forgot. For if Christ lives, and we live with him, then what do we have to fear. Yes, I might die, I fear not death, for through the risen Lord death has lost its sting. So with Christ in front of them, the disciples, fear has also lost its sting.
Then telling them, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you,” He also breathed on them the Holy Spirit. In Scripture, in every single account, Old and New Testament, whenever life is given it is through the Breathe of God. In Genesis God breathed life into Adam. With regards to the dry bones in the valley of death which represented Jerusalem, it is the breathe of God that breathed life into the bones. And for us, it is the breathe of God that brings us to life anew. When Jesus, who is God, breathed on the disciples he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” He was breathing the Holy Spirit on to them so that they would never forget this feeling of faith and hope they had in Jesus.
Yes, Jesus may not always be with them in the same manner he has been for the last three years, but he with never abandon them. He is with them, now and forever more. And it is the Holy Spirit that provides them with the knowledge and faith that as they go out, sent by God, they are not going away from God but are being sent by God who will always be with them. From that day forth, note that as the disciples went out into the world, sent by God, their lack of fear. No longer did they fear the
shame trials. No longer did they fear threat of death. No longer did they fear threats against friend or family. No longer did they fear authority figures, politicians, and the likes. All these they did have concerns about, but they did not fear, for faith in God and the desire to follow him trumped all.
In our first reading, we see proof of this. The disciples have just been thrown in jail for preaching about Jesus, for claiming without Jesus all will go to Hell, for openly aggravating the high priests by calling them murderers, but also presenting the means of forgiveness which is to have faith in the very one whom they killed. The threat of captivity did not stop the disciples. And when an angel of the Lord rescued them they continued to preach the Good news in open at the synagogues once again, knowing full well that the high priests will find out. It didn’t matter to them. Throw me in jail. Kill me. Take the life of all that I love. I will not shut my mouth and throttle the Holy Spirit.
The Elders, furious, used their political prowess to question the disciples, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s bold upon us.” They hated the fact that Peter and the disciples kept on proclaiming to the masses that Jesus’ blood is on the hands of these Elders and chief priests and Sadducees and Pharisees. How dare you claim I have blood on my hands! How dare you judge Me! They throw their authority around thinking that they have the right to judge and command but be clear of all judgment themselves. They can’t handle to be under scrutiny all while they try and silence, cancel the voices of all they disagree with; choosing to ruin the lives of these disciples.
Thinking that they have authority, and that all should simply obey because of authority or that all should simply believe them because they are authority figures, they got irritated at the disciples who choose not to listen and obey, but rather walk into their house and parade around, protesting the priests by proclaiming loudly the Good News. No threat the authoritarian priests gave deterred this thorn in their side. No matter what they said or did, the nuisance known as Christians kept on rising up.
They never backed down because they feared God more than they fear men. They never backed down because they loved God more than they loved men. They never backed down because they obeyed God rather than men. Compared to God’s authority, what authority does man have? None. So if God and the culture with her brainwashed disciples come at odds who should we follow? Who should we give fealty to? Who should we appeal to? To appeal to experts and politicians and commanders on the mere basis of their supposed expertise is nonsense and mindless, but it is even more nonsensical when the supposed experts command you to go against God using their authority as a bludgeoning tool.
I have witnessed multiple attempts by the disciples of Satan to intimidate good Christians into silence by threat of jail, loss of scholarship, loss of friends, loss of family, loss of job, loss of payment, media induced slander, etc. But I have also witnessed those very same Christians rise up to defend God as they remember that they are sent by Jesus. The Cake baker rose up for Jesus. The Bishop of Finland rose up for Jesus. Pastors in
Canada and California rose up in unrestricted worship for Jesus. Persecuted Christians in Central Africa, India, and in China are rising up for Jesus. The Alliance Defending Freedom and all conservative chaplains and pastors aligned with it have risen up for Jesus. Couches rose up for Jesus. Supposed “Christian Nationalists” rose up for Jesus. Students and teachers rose up for Jesus in school. And even parishioners rose up for Christ in their own god-forsaken churches.
Blessings on all who rise up against the satanic forces which wants us to remain silent. For Jesus says in Luke, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” All who rise up are truly blessed for no longer do they allow fear to push them down but like the disciples have placed their faith in Jesus alone who already died on the cross and has risen from the grave so that all who believe in him will not perish but live eternally. With that promise fulfilled, what do I have to fear? Absolutely nothing!
“He is Alive”
(Chorus) He-e He He’s Alive (x4)
1. I can see above the clouds and
I can hear Him call my name out loud.
2. He has come that I might have life
And more life than I have had before.