The story of Jesus is so well known, and I have heard it for over three and half decades now. Yet, I just thought of something new, which I would love to share.
Imagine Jesus at two crucial moments: one, when He had just come back from the dead and visited his friends right after his resurrection; and the second, when Jesus is saying his final words on the mountain before He is going up to heaven, just before his ascension.
First, let’s hear what Jesus finds important enough to say in that room, with closed doors. The disciples might be scared,confused, and, at least, in a time of transition. Jesus says:
- Peace be with you. In John. 20, Jesus shows his hands and his side and says again: Peace be with you,
- As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
- Jesus breathes upon the disciples, and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (Jn 20:22)
These first words after Jesus’s resurrection have something in common with his last words before his ascension.
Before the ascension, we again see Jesus with his disciples, this time standing on a mountain top. Jesus is going up to heaven. Most of them worshiped him, but some doubted.
- Jesus says: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses. (Acts 1:8)
- All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me. (Matth. 28:18)
- Go, Therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matth. 28:18)
- And behold: I am with you, always, to the end of the age.
After ascension came Pentecost: The Holy Spirit came with wind and fire. That means that it was the second time for Jesus’s disciples. The first was just after Jesus resurrection, and it happens again during Pentecost.
If we summarize Jesus’s first words after his resurrection and his final words before his ascension, this is what we see:
- Jesus says, two times, Peace be with you. The first time is John 20:19, and the second time is John 20:21.
- Jesus gives, two times, the Holy Spirit. Just after His resurrection for the first time, He breathed on them and said: receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20: 22) During Pentecost, for the second time, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. (Acts 2)
- Jesus gives, both times, a command: first, As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. (John 20:21) Second, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you. (Matth. 28:19)
- Jesus gives, both times, His presence: And behold, I am with you always, to the end of age. (Matth. 28:20)
This is, in a nutshell, the summary for those who walk—stumbling maybe—in Jesus footsteps. In a moment of discouragement, the disciples could come back to these encouraging words.
And, so can we—to the very end of the age.