Summary: After Pentecost 120 men & women changed their world. The power is still here, & the challenge & authority are still with us. For the same power & authority that sent Jesus, is desiring to send us to change our world.
JOHN 20: 19-23
ON MISSION WITH CHRIST
The Day of the Resurrection had been full of strange rumors and growing excitement. The news that Jesus was alive began to spread among His followers, hesitantly at first, and then with enthusiasm. Even the Apostles were not convinced by the first reports. Thomas even demanded hands on proof. But wherever believing people were confronted by the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, lives were transformed. That same transformation can be yours. Jesus is even now offering it to you.
Do you know what inspires me today? The fact that there are more people gathered to pray and worship here than were gathered at Pentecost. If we would let the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ inflame our lives we could change our world just as those 120 men and women changed theirs. The power is still here, and the challenge and authority are still with us. For the same power and authority that sent Jesus, is desiring to send us (CIT). Sentimentalism has been defined as enjoyment without obligation. Jesus was no sentimentalist and He insists that we, His followers, respond to our responsibility.
I. TURNING FEAR TO FAITH; 19-20.
II. TURNING ENDING TO BEGINNING; 21.
III. TURNING INADEQUACY TO ADEQUACY; 22-23.
In the year 1953 two mountain climbers for the first time conquered MOUNT EVEREST, the world’s highest peak. Overnight they became famous. Three years earlier two men had climbed the Himalayan mountain called Annapurna. At that time it was the first twenty-six thousand foot peak to be scaled right to the summit. When Frenchman Maurice Hertzog and his companion after their terrific struggle finally reached the top of Annapurna, they felt emotions which afterwards they tried to describe, but were virtually unable to do so. Hertzog said, "Our hearts overflowed with an unspeakable happiness and we found ourselves saying, ’If only the others could know. If only the others could know.’" In the hour of the text which I have just read, Jesus addressed the disciples behind closed doors. He was standing on a summit far higher than that of Everest or Annapurna. The ultimate conquest had been won. Life had triumphed over death. Holiness prevailed over sin. Satan’s worst was no match for God’s best. Heaven’s love had defeated Hell’s hate. All of the shame of the cross and the gloom of the grave were completely shattered with the majesty and wonder of the triumph of Jesus’ resurrection. In that very hour of triumph, Jesus looked searchingly into the faces of His followers and said to them, in effect, "Grab hold of what has taken place in My victory. It is not merely for your enjoyment, even as it is not for Mine. There is obligation tied to it. If only the others could know. If only everyone could know. As My Father has sent Me even so send I you."
I. TURNING FEAR TO FAITH; 19-20.
Let’s look at the context in which Jesus made this empowering command. Verse 19 begins the event. "When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week,
Our Lord’s body rested in the tomb on the Sabbath and He bodily arose from the dead on the first day of the week. The seventh day of the week, the Sabbath or Saturday, of the Old Covenant commemorates God’s finished work of creation (Gen. 2:1-3). The first day of the week, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, commemorates Christ’s finished work of redemption, His New Covenant and His new creation in Christ.
I’m sorry to say that the first day of the week or Sunday, for many people is a day reserved simply for recreation, watching sports events, catching-up around the house, or just loafing. For others, it’s a time to "sleep off" a hangover. But for believers all over the world it’s recognized as the day we gather together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for worship, fellowship, prayer, and instruction from God’s Word.
In mountain recesses and open plains, in huge cities and rural hamlets, in ancient cathedrals, and humble chapels, . . . wherever the Christian community exists, as a rule, there is found Christian worship on this day. From the snows of Labrador in the north to the Coral Islands in the south, from the plains of India in the east, to the mountains of Russia, across the deserts of Africa, from the rain forests of Brazil on to the Rocky Mountains of the far west, when the sun ushers in the Lord’s Day, it ushers in a day of worship . . . On this day tens of thousands of Christian ministers read from the Bible, and offer up prayer in the midst of millions . . . , while angels bear the mighty hallelujah chorus of praise rising from the earth to the throne of God."