This first-day-of-the-week meeting is how the Gospel of John
describes the Great Commission. He wraps it in the risen
Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples and makes it into a simple,
direct charge to go into the world without him but with the
guidance of the Holy Spirit that he breathes on them.

Jesus sends them out to share the news of his resurrected
life with all the world. The significance of the meeting in the
upper room is not about his coming back from the dead; it is
about the disciples’ coming to understand that he now expects
them to fulfill his ministry. This is no easy assignment; it is not
without peril. Yet, somehow they must overcome their fears and
rest their confidence in his gift of the Holy Spirit.

Would it not take a profound faith to go out from this room
with the comforting presence of Jesus into a world they knew
firsthand could be hostile? Jesus didn’t issue road maps or
how-to handbooks. They had not always been successful in
their endeavors or in their faith judging from the various Gospels
that describe their lives as disciples prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.
And yet, here Jesus places all his faith in them.

Jesus has stated several times in John’s Gospel that when
he leaves them, he will provide the gift of the Spirit, which will
remind them of all that he has taught them. The Spirit will also
bear witness to the meaning of who he was and will provide a
source of deep, consoling peace.

The Spirit did indeed support and console the Jesus-followers
as they began their ministry of witness without his physical
presence. We don’t know the stories of these twelve men as they
go from this place, but we know the results and can admire their
courageous lives. This Spirit-breathed commission resulted in
the eventual spread and influence of Christianity.

Gracious God, may we sense the support of the Spirit as we do your work in the world. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 20:19-23

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Lectionary Week
May 29–June 4, 2017
Scripture Overview

The foundation of the Pentecost festival is that series of events recorded in Acts 2, a decisive proclamation that links new life in Christ to the activity of the Spirit of God. At the heart of the church’s new life is its experience of the crucified, risen Lord, a reality also recalled in the John 7 reading. Psalm 104 celebrates the power of God in endowing the heavens and the earth with life, an endowment that is linked to the work of God’s Spirit. First Corinthians points the reader to the reality that the gift of life, having once been made, remains with the Spirit-led person in the form of a heart reoriented to new and marvelous deeds of witness.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. God’s gift of Spirit animates the life and well-being of creation. Today, breathe in God’s Spirit; breathe out God’s praise.
• Read Acts 2:1-21. The church is the Holy Spirit’s creation to continue Jesus’ mission. What part are you playing in the ongoing drama of ministry and mission to the world?
• Read 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. The writer asserts that “every day, people of diverse gifts . . . model by their example how the Christian life is to be lived.” How do you express your valuing of those who differ in worship style, theology, or doctrine?
• Read John 20:19-23. The writer says that Jesus’ call to his followers “is no easy assignment; it is not without peril.” How has being a Jesus-follower been difficult for you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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