“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21
Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the remaining disciples were huddled together wondering what their next move might be. Could they get out of Jerusalem safely? Would they be able to resume their lives as fisherman, or tax collectors and such? Or were they marked men because of their close association with Jesus? Making things more difficult for them were the reports of Jesus’ body missing. Some said he was alive. The official story was his body was stolen. what were they to do? It wouldn’t be long before they had their answer.
On the evening of the resurrection day, Jesus appeared to his friends. Jesus came with a mission to save God’s people from sin and death. This is accomplished in his death and resurrection. Now it’s time for the next phase of this mission to begin. The world must hear the good news of God’s salvation. The apostles are given the mission by Christ; “I am sending you.” Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles are poised to begin building the Church.
Christ’s ordination of the apostles is mirrored in today’s clergy. Many have left other careers in order to take up their vocation in the Church. Ordained ministers of the Church of Christ are given this same mandate from our Lord; teach my people, forgive their sins and feed them with the bread that is broken and the wine that is poured out. Jesus equips and empowers pastors filling them with power and granting them authority. Christ sends ministers with a mission and purpose; to be living sacrifices for the sake of others.
In this time following Holy Week and Easter services and celebrations, may God continue to equip and empower the ordained clergy and the many professional lay members for this mission. Pray for those who tend to the needs of God’s people, that as they are sent out, they too might find peace in Christ.
Lord Jesus, strengthen our bishops and pastors in order that they may accomplish that which you have commanded. Kindle in their hearts the fire of your love nourish and sustain them with your power and presence. Fill them with your Holy Spirit as they lead your sheep in the paths of righteousness. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Photo: Christ Chapel pulpit, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary 2004