October 5, 2020
John 20:20-23
After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  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’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
New International Version (NIV)
What is it like to study for a Ph. D.?  When we were studying years ago, a friend of mine described it:  “You learn more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing.”  Harsh, right?  It is true that most of the big topics in the Bible have been explored by previous generations of scholars.  This is why dissertation topics tended to be a bit esoteric and obscure.  I was grateful when my “Doctor-Father” Mikeal Parsons challenged me to take a fresh look at the Gospel of John.  I spent a couple of years studying the story of the blind man in John 9.  So you would think that I had seen everything I would ever see in this passage.  You would be wrong.

I wrote a dissertation or book about the blind man as an “ideal disciple” of Jesus.  Remember he was the only one besides Jesus to say, “I am,” in this gospel.  Unlike the lame man in John 5, the blind man defended Jesus to his own detriment, ultimately earning an unceremonious eviction by the religious leaders.  Today, though, as I read the verses above, I saw another possible hint that the blind man is the “ideal disciple”.  Remember Jesus sent him to the pool of Siloam.  John explains that the name of the pool to which Jesus sent him actually meant “sent”.  

We, too, serve the sending God.  “God sent his son . . .” wrote Gloria Gaither in the resurrection hymn, “Because He Lives”.  Now, as the risen Lord, Jesus reminds us that his disciples do what he did.  The Father sent the Son.  In exactly the same way, the Son still sends his disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit.  What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?  It means we are sent.  Thankfully, Jesus does not send us out empty handed.  Filling us with his Spirit, Jesus sends us out with a double blessing of peace.  What does the church have to offer to a conflicted world?  God’s peace.  So what will we do with it?  We will forgive others their sins.   

Good news:  we have been sent by the Son, in the power of the Spirit to offer peace to others by showing them that God forgives them and so do we.  In other words, Jesus’ disciples are still doing the same thing Jesus did.  We have been sent.  So consider yourself on a mission trip today and every day.  Everybody we meet today needs the peace that comes through God’s forgiveness.  Since you have it, be sure to share it.  For this we were sent.  
Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you for all who serve Jesus today.  Forgive us for sometimes caring more about what people think than we do about what you think.  If there is some good that we may do for someone in your name today, please show us and give us the grace to put feet to our faith.  Help us to seize this moment and to offer this day in its entirety to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:5-6
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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