What to do when you have doubts?
21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21
Peace. It’s the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Shalom.” Words included in this translation are: peace, wholeness. Fullness. Harmony. As resurrection people, we are called and equipped to live life together in the manner we were created. We were created to live in community with one another, sharing the highs and lows of life together. To model to the world the power of forgiving one another when others offend and cause us pain. The peace that comes only through authentic fellowship with God openly inviting those who have strayed back to the love of God. Like the disciples discovered over 2,000 years ago, fear short-circuits faith. Jesus short-circuits fear and rekindles faith.
How does Jesus bring peace where there is fear? He shows up. He encourages. He breathes on the disciples, a foreshadowing of what is to come on Pentecost.
Jesus is understanding. He is compassionate. He dispels doubt. Jesus meets the disciples and us where we are, in our fears, dealing with faith crippling doubt and He speaks into our lives and says, “I understand you’re afraid, but have Shalom. Know that you are not helpless. You are not without hope. You will never be alone again. I have overcome death and the grave and I am here to help you overcome your fears and doubts. Stop unbelieving and believe. Live in the confident power of the Holy Spirit. Live in faith, trust and hope, and not in fear. I will be with you always even until the end of time.”
2. Realize you have received the Holy Spirit.
22After he had said this, he breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22
Gordon Brownville’s Symbols of the Holy Spirit tells about the great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first to discover the magnetic meridian of the North Pole and to discover the South Pole. On one of his trips, Amundsen took a homing pigeon with him. When he had finally reached the top of the world, he opened the bird’s cage and set it free. Imagine the delight of Amundsen’s wife, back in Norway, when she looked up from the doorway of her home and saw the pigeon circling in the sky above. No doubt she exclaimed, “He’s alive! My husband is still alive!”
So, it was when Jesus ascended. He was gone, but the disciples clung to his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. What joy, then, when the dovelike Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples had with them the continual reminder that Jesus was alive and victorious at the right of the Father. This continues to be the Spirit’s message. -Thomas Lindberg.
The same Jesus who sends the disciples and us into the mission field also enables those whom he sends. Jesus empowers us with the enabling gift of the Holy Spirit.
3. Remember why Jesus came and that now He Sends us to be on mission for Him
As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:22b
David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman’s prognosis was devastating: “He has a 50-50 chance.” The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear, and pain–the mother’s ordeal can be almost as bad as the child’s because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap–a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. “If it hurts, remember it’s because he loves you,” Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, “Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting.” -Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985.
That is at the heart of the Easter message. Jesus came to take the hurt and the pain that was ours to endure. He went willingly to the cross, with a willing spirit and never blamed us for putting Him there. And now he sends us His followers out like He did that first band of frightened brothers out to continue the work He began. But does not send them or us out unprepared nor ill-equipped but He sends us out with all the authority and power of His position as King.
Jesus boldly says to us, “I the Lord, Jesus Christ, who has been given all authority in heaven and on Earth, command you, my devoted disciples in every age to go to the ends of the earth, to teach all people of every tribe and nation my gospel. Make all people my disciples who in turn will produce other disciples to expand my kingdom to the ends of the earth.”
What a bold, majestic command of our Lord and Savior. No one else would dare make such a decree. Not only does Jesus command we “go out” this same Jesus backs up that order with all the authority of heaven and seals it with the promise of salvation in His precious blood shed on Calvary’s cross and verified with the empty tomb.
Jesus came back to move the disciples from fear to mission. And He calls, equips and empowers us to do the same. He reminds us that we have His Spirit living and dwelling inside us and that Holy Spirit points us back to the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ. That same Spirit comforts our soul when it is dealing with uncertainty and doubt so that we can have the peace that comes only from our relationship with God.
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