As My Father Has Sent Me, Even so I Send You
by Seattle ALC
This commission of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit are inseparably connected–the commission cannot be accomplished without the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus met His disciples on the evening of the day of resurrection, His first words were a comfort to His troubled followers. Not long before this momentous meeting, Jesus had said to them: “PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU, MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU. NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES, GIVE I UNTO YOU. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID.” – John 14: 27
But much had taken place between that meeting and this resurrection day meeting. Now fear gripped their hearts as they waited behind closed doors. In reassuring manner, Jesus greeted them with peace- “PEACE BE UNTO YOU.” Then He showed them His nail pierced hands and His sword-riven side. Joy began to flood their hearts, dispelling the sorrow of the events of Good Friday and their succeeding hopelessness.
Jesus repeated this greeting: “PEACE BE UNTO YOU” and then added: “AS MY FATHER HAS SENT ME, EVEN SO I SEND YOU.” When He had said these words, He breathed on them and said: “RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST. WHOSESOEVER SINS YE REMIT, THEY ARE REMITTED UNTO THEM, AND WHOSESOEVER SINS YE RETAIN, THEY ARE RETAINED.” (John 20: 19-23)
Peace is the fruit of the Lord’s resurrection. Without this final victory-gaining conclusion to His atoning and reconciling ministry, no soul would ever experience peace here in this life, victory over sin, and be able to rest in the quiet embrace of peace in eternity. The peace of Christ is hidden from mortal senses. It is not of the nature which the world pictures and seeks, no_r such as we can understand through intellectual powers alone. ·
Jesus told the disciples that they would experience tribulation in the world but encouraged them to be of good cheer because He would overcome the world. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, is the means by which our hearts and minds are guarded through Christ Jesus.
As Christians, we are content with having the Lord as our Friend and through Him, God as our gracious Father who daily desires our spiritual and temporal welfare in this life, and eternal peace to be our portion in the life that is to come. Having given such a great gift as His peace, Jesus then spoke the words whereby it has been said that He established His kingdom–the kingdom which He repeatedly described as not of this world. It is the purpose of this kingdom, which He often called the Kingdom of Heaven, both to know and to show how we may be freed from sin and its condemnation, and possess righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
These commissioning words of Jesus are important: “AS MY FATHER SENT ME, EVEN SO I SEND YOU.” As His followers, we are to preach the word which we have heard and received from Him. When He finished the work which He came here on earth to do, He did not take the ministry of the Word with Him to heaven, but He left it here in His kingdom as a special calling and commission for His followers. He has given us both the ministry and the word of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5: 18 & 19)
Special power is required to accomplish this work–a power that is not human, but divine. Jesus did not equip His followers with natural swords or with carnal or worldly power, but with that of the Holy Spirit. He breathed upon them and said to them: “RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST” and then the authority, “ WHOSESOEVER SINS YE REMIT, THEY ARE RE MITTED UNTO THEM, AND WHOSESOEVER SINS YE RETAIN, THEY ARE RETAINED.”
Although the power to remit sins belongs to God only, He exercises and imparts it through the office of the Holy Spirit by means of the ministry which Jesus gave to His disciples with the words: “AS MY FATHER HAS SENT ME, EVEN SO I SEND YOU.”
This commission is not something assumed or appropriated by man, nor performed by human will and power, but by the authority and on the command of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. It extends farther than all other authority known here on earth because it opens heaven itself to all who believe the gospel.
In writing about the only acceptable righteousness which the Apostle Paul terms the righteousness, which is by faith, he states: “…SAY NOT IN YOUR HEART, WHO SHALL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN? THAT IS, TO BRING CHRIST DOWN FROM ABOVE. OR WHO SHALL DESCEND INTO THE DEEP? THAT IS, TO BRING UP CHRIST AGAIN FROM THE DEAD. BUT WHAT SAITH IT? THE WORD IS NIGH THEE, EVEN IN THY MOUTH AND IN THY HEART: THAT IS THE WORD OF FAITH WHICH WE PREACH. THAT IF THOU SHALT CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS, AND SHALT BELIEVE IN THINE HEART THAT GOD HAS RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. FOR WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVES UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION.” (Rom. 10: 6-10)
From these Biblical teachings–and from the words of our Lord in particular, we can understand the significance of this commission regarding which Luther wrote: Even if we could ascend into heaven on a golden ladder, we could accomplish nothing in that way because the words of Jesus still remain: “AS MY FATHER HAS SENT ME, EVEN SO I SEND YOU.” We should not try to reach God in a different way than that which He has ordained.
This is the true doctrine concerning the Kingdom of Christ and the office of the keys. Let us act accordingly and remain Christians who through the power of the Holy Spirit are then prepared for all things in our relationship both with God and our fellow men. This kingdom was established so that the inhabitants of this world may obtain a treasure that cannot be bought with money. Let us be grateful to our Lord and Saviour, who through His resurrection founded this kingdom of grace wherein all our spiritual needs are satisfied.
In Him alone we have all things” But of him are ye in Christ Jesus who of God has made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. “ (I Corinthians 1: 30-31)
From the Archives of the late Pastor A.C. Holmgren, May 1992
This was written just before Pastor Holmgren went to Riga, Latvia the second time. He went there three times to preach and teach shortly after the Baltic States regained their Independence,.
Submitted by Pastor Stan
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