Receive the Holy Spirit. 

Imagine being one of the disciples on Easter Sunday.   The past few days have been marked, not only by the tragic death of Jesus, but also by your own spectacular failure.   After spending so much time with Jesus, watching him perform miracles and hearing him speak about God’s mercy, you deserted him in his hour of need.   You couldn’t even stay awake with him as he prayed at Gethsemane!

But now Jesus has risen and is standing right in front of you.   Seeing him again, alive but still wounded, brings back these memories.   You cringe inwardly and wait for him to upbraid you for your unbelief—again. But instead, he says the last thing you expect:  Peace be with you.

No condemnation, no anger, not even a mild rebuke.   Just pure meek-but-powerful mercy.   He still loves you.   He still treasures you.   All he is concerned about is that you find peace.

Your heart melts. Joy fills your being.   You want to express your gratitude and praise, but words fail you.   Then, Jesus says something else unexpected:  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

God had just sent Jesus back to you as a sign of his love and mercy.   He has sent Jesus so that you can see what love looks and feels like.   And now Jesus is sending you to do the same thing?   How can you possibly show such love?   How can you possibly be like Christ?   Sensing your confusion, Jesus breathes on you:  Receive the Holy Spirit.

Once more, your heart melts.   Only this time, the feeling is more personal.   The Holy Spirit is pouring God’s love and mercy into your heart.   That’s how he is sending you out:  forgiven, filled with his love, and equipped to share that love.

Jesus is sending you too, just as the Father sent him.   He is breathing his Spirit into you, just as he did for his disciples.  Embrace your mission today.   Embrace the Holy Spirit.

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