Wednesday April 1, 2020
44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”Luke 24:44-49 (NLT)
To fully benefit from this passage, we need to remember the setting. Jesus had risen from the dead and was reminding his amazed disciples of what they had learned. Jesus had just gone through betrayal by one of his own followers, humiliation by a squad of Roman soldiers, and a barbaric death nailed to a cross. He was still living in his wounded body.
He could have reacted with rightful anger. He could have called on the legions of angels at his disposal to seek vengeance. He could have given up on the people who convinced themselves that they were right to kill him. He could have abandoned them to Satan without hope.
But he didn’t. He offered forgiveness to all who would repent. And he instructed his followers to do likewise. He did not abandon us to greed, fear, and violence – the goals of Satan. Rather he sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to bear the troubles of this world, just as he had. Jesus did not let the trouble in this world change him. It did not diminish his faith or his love.
Yes, the news is dark. Best case projections are that 100,000 Americans will not survive this virus. But every one of them who believes will join Jesus in heaven. That same Holy Spirit, that Jesus sent to his followers, is with us now, helping us to face the current troubles and to care as much about others as ourselves. Let us not let the virus change us or make us less followers of Jesus. Rather let us all encourage one another in faith. And let us look forward to the time when this challenge passes.
-Pastor Doug Donigian