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John’s Great Commission: Even So I Am Sending You

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John 20:10-23 John’s Great Commission (Even So I Am Sending You) Introduction: Since the beginning of our studies in John I have been referring to this Gospel as the Story of God and the World… but we’ve pointed out that the whole Purpose of John telling us this story is so that it might become our story as well. That we might find ourselves our true selves who we were meant to be in the story of God and the World… As John closes his Gospel that is what we find… 1. A New Beginning - The most important day ever, the greatest most life changing event!!! 1. It happened on the first day of the week early in the morning, even before the sun had risen. We find a woman in a garden, weeping, distraught over the power of death…as the gardener approaches. It is the first day of the new creation and we find ourselves again in a garden. 1. “On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.”- G. K. Chesterton 2. As Jesus says Mary’s name she turns around to see him.. “ in that one or two seconds that it took her you can imagine the world shifting ever so slightly on it’s axis, and history too, from B.C to A.D. A second before this turn there is a woman in the deepest human despair in the agonizing presence of unconquerable death; a second after this the beginning of this turn there is a woman in the deepest possible human elation - in the presence of the death conquering central figure of history. The rush that must have come over this woman in her two second turn is unimaginable. She is the first person ever to experience the personal presence of the Risen Lord. When she turned to him at this moment, human history took a turn to a responsible hope for the vincibility of death and, so, to the conquest of meaninglessness.” -Bruner 2. John through his descriptive language wants us to understand that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed everything, even though the disciples did not know it yet. Now all that Jesus had promised is coming to pass. - now “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation the old has gone and the new has come…” 3. We even see it in the way that Jesus communicates with Mary. The relationship dynamic is no longer the same… Mary will not have to hold on to Jesus like before. Jesus is no longer restricted to a time and location.. he will now forever be in the midst of his people…. 2. A New Identity and Relationship through Jesus’ making peace 1. Jesus says to Mary, "Go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to My God and your God. - so she went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord - and that he had said these things to her.” 2. Notice Jesus calls the disciples his brothers… and he refers to God as their Father and their God. These words are possessive, they’re words of ownership. The whole relationship dynamic has been changed. Jesus has brought his people to God. He has completed the work of redemption and reconciliation. Remember Jesus words from the cross, “it is finished,” and we talked about what that means - "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18) - We have been made beloved sons and daughters of God, he is “Our” Father now. 3. Jesus will send his disciples out on a mission of forgiveness; but he precedes his mission of offered to his world forgiveness with his gift of proffered to his church forgiveness. Its a fact that forgiven people do mission more gracefully. 4. We see this again in the next verses, “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,[c] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” what Jesus does here is something that we need to stop and ponder…immediately after appearing to his disciples he declares or proclaims his peace (Shalom) to them..twice. Before Jesus says anything about power or purpose he wants to establish peace. The order here is really important. The peace that Jesus gives is before and underneath any of our empowered actions or any of our purposeful deeds. We don’t initiate peace with Jesus by our actions. He initiates peace with us. Has the peace, through the work of Christ truly touched your heart and life? 1. There are five relationships where the crucified and risen Christ brings peace into our lives: 1. Peace between us and him. That’s the first and most obvious meaning: he is standing there among them offering them himself as a friend and helper, not a judge. 2. Peace between us and God. That’s why God sent him — so that God’s justice and wrath could be satisfied another way besides eternal punishment. God makes peace with us by substituting his Son’s suffering for our penalty. Now he comes to us as a loving Father. 3. Peace between us and others who are in Christ. To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to all who are reconciled to God. No hostility vertically or horizontally. No racism. No classism or sexism. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). 4. Peace between us and our own souls. The New Testament letter to the Hebrews says, “The blood of Christ . . . will purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). O the precious peace of a clear conscience. How many people labor under the misery of a defiled, guilty conscience. Peace doesn’t mean that past sins cease to be painful. It means they cease to be paralyzing. The pain may not be taken away immediately, but the penalty is taken away immediately through Christ. And that makes it possible to heal. And to move on with hope-filled life while you do. 5. Peace with the world. Yes, when Jesus died he did what needed to be done (Colossians 1:19–20) so that someday, in God’s time, all evil will be cast into outer darkness and the entire new creation will be full of peace and righteousness. “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end . . . with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isaiah 9:7). 6. Applying this peace to our own lives is absolutely essential. Unless we know our own forgiveness, we are not going to be very adept at telling other people of their forgiveness. I heard Tim Keller once describe the scene in Isaiah 6. If you remember, Isaiah is brought into the presence of the Lord, he is cleansed, made right before God and then he is told to Go and tell! God brings him in only to tell him to get out, to Go tell the nations..and this is really what we see in this passage here: Disciples have had their relationship with the Father changed, their status changed so now they can go and tell others how to receive forgiveness and be-reconciled with God...If you haven’t appreciated the former you’ll never fulfill the latter, it will only be duty to you. It won’t be real, or life changing, it won’t be alive.…… 7. Are we consciously living out and applying Jesus’ peace to our lives? 3. A New Mission - Parables of Jesus 1. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And 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 withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 2. If Christians believe all this about Jesus on this particular Sunday morning is true, than it follows that this most important of all world realities must be sent out into the world -for it’s blessing. 3. If disciples are sent into the world just as Jesus was sent -We can really say that God so loved the world that he sent the Christians -Jenny, Joe, and Tom, out into the world so that every single individual that is simply trusting them and the One they represent will not be destroyed but have deep, lasting life. Christians are the body of Christ, extensions of the incarnation - Christ bearers. 4. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. Here is the Priesthood of believers. We are sent out just as Jesus was, as his representatives in the world.. we are parables of Jesus… When people come into to contact with us, they are not just encountering us, moral people, or struggling Christians - they are in fact encountering - a product of the new creation… 5. This is the language that Paul uses in 2 Corinthians, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 6. We are Parables of Jesus 1. "Just to say this sounds egotistical. But sometimes when on simple visits in a cafe, it is as if I am not even there. God is there. Sometimes God comes to people when I preach, or pray, or even when I ask how they are doing when I bump into them in the grocery store. Being a Parable of Jesus we understand when Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matt 10:40). Am I so desperate for identity that I’ve resorted to calling myself Jesus? No. I’m just a hook with some feathers threads on it (fly fisherman). I observe that when I encounter people along the way, they don’t experience me so much as they experience God. How do I account for this? I am a parable of Jesus. How else does Christ communicate himself through us to others? Seeing ourselves as parables of Jesus displaces the hazy, hyper spiritual gnostic spirituality that imagines God mystically seeping through us to others, ignoring our actual historical lives and bodies. The mystical seeping theory doesn’t require ethics. In this view, who I am, what I am from day to day doesn’t really matter. But if Jesus is communicated through us because of the likeness we share with him in our everyday life, if the essence of delivering Christ is living like him in our whole life, matching our life’s narrative with his life’s narrative, then our everyday life counts. Every Christian’s life is meant to be a parable of Jesus." - Dave Hansen Conclusion: Church we need to be brought back to our center. If Christ is risen then this news is the most vital, most important piece of information in the history of the World. It should cause everything we do to be brought to serve this one proclamation - Peace has been made with God, through Christ! There is hope in this life and beyond this life, the best is yet to come!… That doesn’t mean that we manipulate relationships because we are trying to get people into the church like the old church growth gimmicks. It means that if this is true, then, if we really, truly love people, we will want them to know and to come to believe this most vital piece of information more than anything else, so that they also, may believe that Jesus is the Anointed one of God and that by believing they might have life, now, and in the age to come, through his name…. "I Want You" Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. We the readers and the hearers have been in the author’s mind and heart the whole time. It is written that You, that I may Believe. and that by believing we might have life in Jesus name…I wonder if John sees the Not-yet believers reading and hearing this Gospel to be the final sign of Jesus? I believe John is asking us to believe again and again, to continue to believe, day after day, Sunday after Sunday, until the Lord returns… What are we believing? That Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God… Jesus is the eternal God who became very human flesh. we believe That Jesus is it. he is the most important figure in all of world history, in all of time and eternity By Believing you have life in his name…. “John’s gospel believes that “Life” in the word’s full sense occurs only where there is trust in God’s one great hour of sharing, Jesus. Life exists, in the Gospel’s conviction, where there is no longer the abysmal dread of death, the awful weight of guilt, the horrid emptiness of meaninglessness, the lifeless absence of God, and the futile quest of the worlds multiple gods and idols. Life is present wherever Jesus, and all that he means, is appreciated and finally trusted. -Bruner
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