In John 20:18, we read that Mary brought the news of Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples. Yet, this news did not immediately strengthen or encourage them - “the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). That is quite ironic. Mary’s message meant God had even conquered death but the disciples were concerned with self-preservation. Imagine if an organisation were to form a Disciple search committee to look for people to carry Christ’s message. Would these disciples be on the list of candidates? I think their names would probably be at the bottom. Yet Jesus did not shunt them aside but continued to stand with them and call them.
We have heard this before, “God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” Nowhere is this seen more clearly in this text, as Jesus appears before his disciples and gives his disciples the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). From then on, the Holy Spirit would live in them and empower them to do the task he had assigned them – “as the father has sent me, I am sending you.” This is the life to which they were, as we are called to, today – to extend forgiveness in his name and bring life to others. There can be no higher calling than that. With God there is no Plan B. He calls us and then empowers us through the Holy Spirit to fulfil our calling. As we have studied, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us the moment we receive Christ as Saviour, never to go away again. When we move through fear to embrace our calling, God’s Spirit empowers us to participate in God’s mission.
It’s not about us. It’s never about us. It’s about the Holy Spirit working in and through us. So when God calls us to serve him in ministering to others, we must remember that it’s not about us. It’s about the Holy Spirit working in and through us as we humbly submit to his leading and guidance. We should walk in faith and not think of what we cannot do but what God can do through us.
This is the way it is. God is omnipotent and sovereign over all things. That means he can accomplish his purpose for his creation without us. But in his grace and love for us, he has called us to bring life to others. However, he leaves that choice to us. God is just like a millionaire who goes out into the streets, picks up orphans and brings them into his home and family to clean them up. After that, he invests his personal resources in training and developing the orphans, i.e. us. After we have been trained and developed, he uses more of his resources to open up markets and fields to enable us to use the talents and gifts he has developed in us. That is the power of his amazing grace at work in our lives. It’s not about us; it’s about God working in us. The message of Resurrection Sunday is “Arise”. Jesus Christ did arise from the dead about two centuries ago. He gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples so that they too might arise and bring his message of forgiveness far and wide without fear. That is what they rose up to do. The Holy Spirit is also given to each one of us who declares Christ as Lord and Saviour. This Easter, may each one of us arise to fulfil all that God has called us to do.