Empowered and sent
John 20:19-23 (NRSVA)
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
Earlier in John’s Gospel, when Jesus is reassuring his disciples that even although he will die, he will not leave them comfortless, he tells them, “Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (see John 14: 19b-20). Jesus gives us an astonishing picture of the union between us, flawed and broken human beings as we are, and the Godhead. We are invited into the love relationship between Father and Son through the power of the Spirit. And in the power of that relationship Jesus tells us that we will do even greater things than he has done.
Now that his death and resurrection have come to pass, once again he offers his peace, but also a commission: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you!” In their joy and gladness, the disciples went out to transform their world. How do we react to the knowledge that the Trinity encircles us? What does it mean to us that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — whose love for one another is so deep and intense that they are as one person — has invited us into their relationship? And how will we take this love out to a needy world?
Father we do not deserve the love that you shower upon us.
Nevertheless, we thank you that you have invited us
into your loving relationship with your Son and the Holy Spirit.
We thank you that, embraced by this Trinity,
we have power to do even greater things than Jesus did.
Give us courage to take your love to those who do not know you.
Give us strength to step out of our comfort zones
to meet your world at its point of need. Amen.