Tag: receive the Holy Spirit

“Peace be with you!”

Scripture reading for May 4th:  John 20

On the first day of the week (Sunday) Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it open and empty.  She ran and told the disciples and John and Peter ran to check it out for themselves.  They came and saw the grave clothes folded up as well as the linen strips.  John says that he saw and believed that Jesus was alive.  But they left without seeing Him.  Mary stayed at the tomb and when she bent to look inside again, she saw two angels seated where the body had been.  They asked her why she was crying and as she turned away, she saw Jesus standing there but did not recognize Him.  He revealed Himself to her and told her: “Go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to My father and your Father, to My God and your God.'”   (John 20:17)

Later that Sunday evening, the disciples were together behind locked doors because they were afraid of what might happen.  “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)  John says that Jesus showed them His hands and side where He was pierced.  The disciples were overjoyed at seeing Him alive!

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.”  And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.””  (John 20:21-23)  Jesus spoke peace to these men who had denied and deserted Him a few hours earlier.  He commissioned them to go into the world and seek the lost as He had done for the Father.  He gave them the Holy Spirit and authority to proclaim forgiveness!


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Pleaded and Warned:Save Yourselves!

Scripture reading for November 6th: Acts 1-4

Luke wrote the Book of Acts to record the work of the early church following the ascension of Jesus to Heaven.  Luke tells us how these first disciples waited and then received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and how they they then took the Gospel from Jerusalem to Samaria and then to the ends of the earth.  In general, the first 12 chapters focus on Peter, the Apostle and the last 16 chapter focus on Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost is an impressive example of Gospel presentation in this early church.  Peter was in Jesus’ inner circle and had proclaimed that he would remain true to Jesus no matter what the others did.  Peter denied Jesus three times as Jesus had predicted and he wept bitterly at his own failure.  After the resurrection, Jesus restored Peter and Peter became the spokesman for the Apostles.   After receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter stood to answer the crowd and the mockers that thought they were all drunk.  (Acts 2:12-21)  He told them that this was the fulfillment of the prophesy given by Joel concerning the last days.  He told them about Jesus, the one who was shown to be the Son of God by signs and wonders, the one that they had crucified and put to death.  He also told them of the resurrection of Jesus and the many witnesses of this truth.  (Acts 2:22-36)  Jesus Christ was both Lord and Christ!

This preaching brought great conviction on those who heard and they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For this promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” (Acts 2:38-39a)  Peter pleaded with them and warned them with many more words to be saved from this corrupt generation that they were living in.  About 3000 were saved that day!

Good preachers care about their flock.  They want all to be saved.  They preach a clear Gospel message and give direct invitations to those who desire salvation.  They warn and plead those who are wavering or unsure.  Jesus will save all who call on Him, but we must save ourselves by calling out in faith!

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Receive the Holy Spirit

Scripture reading for November 5th: John 18-21

John’s account of the resurrection contains some information not recorded by the other Gospel writers.  John tells how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found the stone rolled away.  (John 20:1-22)  She found Peter and “the other disciple” (John) and they ran to the tomb.  John got there first and was looking in when Peter caught up and went right on in.  They found the grave clothes and head cloth neatly folded where the body had been laid.  John saw this and believed that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Mary stood outside crying, and as she bent to look into the tomb, she suddenly saw two angels dressed in white.  They asked her why she was crying.  She responded that she was broken because she did not know who might have taken the body away and where they had put Him.  Turning around, she saw a man standing there.  She thought it might be the gardener and asked him where Jesus’ body might have been put.  Jesus spoke her name, “Mary” and she recognized Him.  “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.  Go instead to My brothers and tell them ‘I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” (John 20:17)  It is interesting that Jesus now calls the disciples His brothers.  He calls His Father and God, their Father and God!

On that evening of the first day of the week that Jesus rose again, the disciples were gathered behind locked doors.  Jesus came and appeared to them.  “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent Me , I am sending you.”  And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:21-23)  This was the first thing John recorded that Jesus did when He visited them on that first day after the resurrection.  Jesus wanted them filled with peace.  He wanted them to have a vision and purpose to their lives: being sent into the world for seeking lost people.  He wanted them to be empowered with the Spirit enough to personally breath on them.  What joy this must have brought after the experience of Jesus’ crucifixion!

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