Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC
John 20:19-22 (ESV)
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them 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. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The disciples, shaken by the brutal death of their beloved Jesus, find themselves locked in a room, full of fear while hiding from the Jewish leaders. One could say that they had every right to fear. These were the same Jewish leaders who brought Jesus up on false charges, orchestrated his arrest under the cover of darkness, falsely tried Jesus, and influenced Pontius Pilate to flog and execute him. Into their gripping fears of personal safety and uncertainty about the future, Jesus presents himself fully alive.
Perfectly understanding their fears and concerns, Jesus speaks the calming words, “Peace be with you.” And, as if to say, the Jewish leaders are powerless over God’s children, Jesus shows them the healed scars in his hands and side – symbols of a victory already won. Wasting no time on past failures and present fears, Jesus issues new marching orders. “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Bringing clarity to their future, Jesus explains that moving from fear to peace and from uncertainty to purpose starts by unlocking doors to the world and patterning their lives after his. Let’s catch this: Jesus is saying that the Father led Him to live a life that serves as the only pattern for us, His disciples, today.
My mom is known for her sewing and decorating skills. When I was of elementary age, she enrolled me in an ice skating class. I was so eager to learn how to skate around the ice rink fast and slick like the bigger kids. But, I was unaware that our class would culminate with us dressing up as a troop of green, skating martians to show off our newly acquired skills. Insisting that I follow through with the show, Mom dutifully bought a sewing pattern and went to work transforming that green, satin fabric into a shiny costume – complete with a pointed hood topped with a pipe cleaner curly cue that only a mother could love.
My reluctant transformation into a little martian skater all began with my mom applying that pattern to a bolt of fabric. As a disciple of Jesus, I must move from reluctance to substance in my spiritual life and embrace the truth that Jesus requires me to live – just. like. He. did. John clarifies this point in 1 John 2:6 when he says, “If anyone would call himself a Christian, he must live like Jesus did.” (NIV) No matter our reluctance, fears, anxieties, or past, Jesus commands you and me to apply His very intentional pattern of life to ours.
Living like Jesus did begins with prayer and reliance on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We must take immediate and complete steps to reject patterns of living that chain us to Savior substitutes such as; the rituals of men, the American dream, the selfishness of materialism, the isolation of individualism, and the pride of consumerism. There is simply no other way to peace and pleasing the Savior.
You can leave the captivity of old patterns and embrace the freedom of new ones by joining a life group, serving as a volunteer in one of our ministries, becoming someone who gives generously, and engaging your neighbors with acts of love and service for the sake of their lost souls. You could be the only Jesus that your neighbors ever see. Through steadfast prayer and Holy Spirit power, you can show them a peaceful yet supernatural life that is patterned after Jesus.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord, thank you for living so intentionally that I can now study your life and make it a pattern for mine. Replace my fears with the gladness of your victorious presence. Mold me into what you want for the sake of your name and the hope of my neighbors and friends. Make all of us at Living Hope a beautiful reflection of you so that every nook and cranny of our city can see your beauty in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.