Last week was Easter. It is a day of celebration. A day of rejoicing. We dress up and say things such as, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” We sing triumphant and victorious songs such as “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and “He Lives.” We shake hands and smile and say “Happy Easter.” Then we go a eat ham and look for candy with our kids in the backyard. Sunday night comes around and we slip into our recliner and watch the Ten Commandments and slowly fade back into the routine of the world.
In John 20:21 we see something drastically different. We are given a window into the first Easter Sunday evening. The followers of Jesus had locked themselves in a room, scared to death. Out a nowhere, the risen Jesus shows up and stands in their midst. All of the sudden things are better. Jesus' presence and words comfort them instantaneously.
So many questions must have been running through their heads. How did you get in here? Are you really alive, or are you a ghost? What was that death all about? Jesus, as always, has complete control over the situation. His appearance is not random. His appearance to his followers has a purpose. It is missional.
Jesus does not give his followers much time to breath. He shows up and tells them that there is work to be done. The disciples, all of them by the way, are told that Jesus is sending them. This seems to be top priority. Remember the Church age has only existed for about 12 hours or so, and Jesus was already saying, “Go.” Easter evening wasn't about watching the Ten Commandments, or slipping back into the rat-race of life. It was about making disciples.
Aren't you glad they listened? Think about it. What if the early Church was like most Churches in America today. Instead of going, they stayed. What if they said, “We will pray about it, and we will see.” Or “I don't know if that is my calling” Or “I don' have time. I have responsibilities, a job, a family.”
If the earlier Church of 2000 years ago acted like the American Church of today, there would not be an American Church of today. Our Christian heritage is rooted in the early Church obeying Jesus and going and sharing the Gospel message.
The reality is still the same. The mission hasn't changed. Jesus is still sending his disciples out into the world. He is sending you to the lost in your community, classes, workplace, family. He is sending you to rural areas and cities. He is sending you to other states and other nations. This is true for everyone, not just the pastor. This is still the number one priority for the Church, to tell people about what Jesus has achieved for us on the cross.
Think about whose salvation may be dependent upon you being obedient to God's Word. Who is going to be a fruit of your labor in this next day, week, year, decade, century, millennium. Don't ignore the words of Jesus. The mission is clear, Jesus is sending you, so go.