But then… Jesus

But then… Jesus

John 20:19-23

He comes amongst them to Commission in the midst of hurt and pain and difficulty and division. Jesus comes with a plan.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Please sit.

I think it’s very easy for us to picture where the disciples were on this Sunday, in this moment when everything had gone wrong.

Even though they had travelled all that time with Jesus, they still didn’t understand what Jesus was teaching them. It shows how easy it is, if even the disciples can fall into despair and terror when times are difficult.

But then…. Jesus and I’m tempted to stop the sermon there.

Because sometimes I think that’s all we need to know. But then… Jesus.

He comes amongst them to Commission in the midst of hurt and pain and difficulty and division. Jesus comes with a plan.

God sent Jesus, and now Jesus sends them. I think there are four things that we can take away from the Commission in John’s Gospel.

The first is that Jesus needs the Church. We are his body, his hands, his feet, his mouth. It is the Church that takes Jesus to all Peoples of the world, and it is the Church who proclaimed Christ as he proclaimed His Father.

The second point is that the Church is dependent upon Jesus. People who are sent are sent with a message. And without Jesus we have no message. Without Him. Our message has no power or authority.

Without Him there is no one to appear in the midst of hurt, pain and despair. It is, and it must always be his message and not our message.

So the third point is that it is clear that it is an interdependent relationship. We are sent as God sent Jesus, and so we must act as Jesus did when he came and proclaimed His Father.

That is one, if not the central thread of John’s Gospel. It is that we must follow Jesus as Jesus followed his Father. And how did Jesus follow his Father? He did it in perfect obedience and love. Therefore we must follow Jesus with the same perfect and obedient love.

The Church is not and must never be here to propagate its own message. It must propagate the message of Christ. It must never be out to follow a message of human devising. It must always be out with a will to follow Christ. The Church will fail and we will fall if we ever try to solve problems in our own strength and in our own wisdom.

Rather, we must follow Jesus in perfect and obedient love.

And that’s the final thing that holds everything together. The fourth point in our Gospel. We are sent in perfect, obedient love into the world with the power of the Holy Spirit breathed over us by Jesus Christ. Jesus breathes on his disciples. And it’s hard not to see the breath of God in Genesis of Creation, but also what Ezekiel saw in the Valley of the Dead when he cried,

“Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon the slain that they may live.”

Ezekiel 37:9

The breath of Jesus is the coming of the Holy Spirit to bring life from death, hope from despair, love from hate. It is a breath and powerful Holy Spirit that brings us into unity with Jesus Christ and with one another and with his father.

And so today on Divine Mercy Sunday, we are called to follow Jesus as he followed his father in perfect love and obedience, regardless and perhaps knowing what the cost of that may be.

And so I want you to take with you this week one thing and it is the central message of this gospel to follow Jesus in perfect and obedient love. And when you say, how do I do that today to hear in your head me stood here today saying to you, but then… Jesus. Because it doesn’t matter what life throws at you, it doesn’t matter where you end up. But then, Jesus, Jesus will help and will put you on the right path. Amen.