Jesus comes to us and gives us his peace with God. Then he gives us power to do the kinds of things that mere humans can’t do — like defeating our own selfishness, and loving other people, and treasuring Christ above all. And then with that peace and that power he gives us our central purpose for existence: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
I’m sending you to extend my peace and my light and my truth and my life in the world. I am going to my Father. But I give you my Spirit. I am the power in you. So go and glorify me in this world. That’s our great purpose — in the peace of God, by the power of God, to do the will of God for the glory of God, and for the good of others.
And if you are puzzled by any of this…. here’s what I think it means. It’s a good way to end. Jesus says to the disciples: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
What he means is this: When you tell people about what I have done, speaking my word, about my work, in the power of my Spirit, I am the one speaking through you, so that if anyone believes your word, I forgive their sins. And if any does not believe your words, I don’t’ forgive them. And since you are my voice and my truth, I speak of you forgiving them, and you withholding forgiveness.
Which simply means that right now: what you make of this message from this fallible, sinful, human messenger will decide whether you are forgiven or not. As an ambassador of Christ, I urge you be reconciled to God: receive as a free gift his peace, his power, his purpose. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Reading the Bible Supernaturally
My favorite verse in the Bible is Matthew 28:19, and the only one committed to memory is: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
I tell you this because it is the ‘single verse’ that has inspired me to ‘come-out-of-the-closet.’ By that… I mean to say: I was, for some 60 years, a… “closet Christian.” I kept my religion, my spiritual thoughts, and my relationship with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… to myself…not to be SHARED with anyone, at any time, for any reason. It was PERSONAL. And because of my friend… and ‘world renowned Evangelist’…Adrian Despres…pointed this verse out to me (again)…and CHALLENGED me to ‘share with anyone, at any time, and at any place, for any reason… the WORD, the Gospel, of Jesus Christ. This is what I do. This is who I am. What you see is what you get.
Thank you Dear Lord, for Adrian…for his sharing… YOU, with me…and, for INSPIRING me…to share YOU…with all those who have ‘ears to hear, and eyes to see’…and who have an ‘open-heart’ that is willing to accept YOU, as our Lord God, Prince of the Universe, Creator of all-mankind…and the SAVIOR of the world.
Note: This article is presented ‘in memory’ of Gloria Despres (that would be Adrian’s Mom)… from Charleston W.V., who departed this world as a ‘child of God’ on April 11, 2017