These words of Jesus to his first followers are remarkable. They had seen many amazing things the Father had done through Jesus: healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, bringing the good news of God’s kingdom.
Now Jesus was saying that just as the Father had sent him, he was sending his followers. What does this mean?
First, all who follow Jesus are called to participate in God’s mission to the world. Jesus speaks with almighty authority here. We cannot simply live as observers of what God is doing; we have a mission to call sinners to repentance and to bring God’s love to the marginalized. Jesus’ words about withholding forgiveness do not give us a license to be vindictive. Instead, we must show that the good news of God’s kingdom is central to our salvation.
Second, as ascended Lord, Jesus will provide the strength needed to carry out this task. Christ’s presence removes our fear and brings peace; the Holy Spirit’s power turns Jesus’ followers into bold participants in God’s work. This gives believers the courage to address sin and all kinds of challenging problems with the loving grace and truth of Jesus himself.
As the Father sent Jesus, so the followers of the ascended Lord are sent into the world. May we go today with Spirit-led confidence.
Holy Spirit, strengthen me where I am weak and fearful. May others experience the bold love of Jesus through me, confronting sin, showing forgiveness, and sharing God’s love and wisdom. Amen.