The words of the risen lord: His message and charge
Our Lord Jesus used the forty days between His Resurrection and Ascension to appear to different people to convince them, convict them, commission them, direct them, guide them, strengthen them, and bring His perpetual presence to their consciousness. As He continues to live, He continues to appear to people, even after His ascension. Thus, He appeared to people like Paul and John the Divine. And so He continues to appear to us even now, assuring us as He did: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. … And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18,20b).
We meditate on the Words of the Lord on the Cross before His Crucifixion. It is high time we also began to meditate on the Words of the Lord after His Resurrection. It is therein we find His message and charge for His people, who remain in this dark world of sin.
The Words of the Risen Lord can be categorised into three, namely: the Words of Peace and Courage; the Words of Commissioning and the Words of Empowerment
• The Words of Peace and Courage
Knowing that the world is full of turmoil, turbulence, tension and torment, He equipped us to sail through peacefully and courageously. At His first appearance to the women, He said: “Rejoice! … Do not be afraid…” (Matt. 28:9,10). Later, He appeared to the disciples and said to them: “Peace to you”. But they were terrified and frightened… and He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your heart? … (Luke 24:36-38).
Our society today is full of terror, dangers, hatred, wars, persecution, murder, etc. Jesus brings peace or well-being, courage and hope. We no longer need to fear death or disaster. We are assured that just as Jesus triumphed, so we would triumph. His message is the answer to the heaviest questions that press upon us. It is the solution to the despair and uncertainties that riddle our hearts. It is what we need, when we are desperate for hope, for light, for the promise that God can make beauty out of ruin.
• The Words of Commissioning
Having encouraged his disciples, Jesus also commissioned them to the work of mission. After challenging their fears and calming his disciples, Jesus said to them: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).
He later met with the remaining eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee and said to them: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:18-20)
Also, just before his Ascension, he charged them: “… you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
To know the Risen Lord and the power of his Resurrection is a wonderful experience that must be shared. That is the only assignment that the Lord has for his church – to spread the Gospel. It is the last Command of our Lord.
• The Words of Empowerment
The Lord matched His assignment with power. The assignment is really enormous and will also meet with contending forces. Hence, as a prelude to the charge to be witnesses, He said: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). And in the Gospel, He empowered them with the words: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.