Commands of Christ: 91

Receive the Holy Spirit.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  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.”  John 20:19-23

This is the first post-resurrection appearance to the inner circle of disciples as a group (except for Thomas).  This is a precursor of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given more broadly to His followers.  Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples in the context of sending them to continue His ministry of announcing the Kingdom of His grace and peace.  This empowering and this ministry were not optional.  The Spirit was necessary for carrying out this ministry.  The same is true for each of us today.  We are called and we are empowered and commanded.

Commands of Christ: 90

Take courage.

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

Jesus gives this command in the context of instructing the eleven disciples about the near future when He would be tortured and killed and things would look dark and hopeless.  He was making it clear to them that God was in control, the future was bright, and that He was going to bring good out of apparent evil.  He was winning despite all appearances.  He wanted them to take the long view and allow that perspective to give them courage.  The same thing is true for each of us who follows Him.

Commands of Christ: 89

Pray in My Name.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  John 15:7-8

Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”  John 16:24

We benefit through complete joy when we pray in His name and He answers.  He benefits by glory going to God when we pray in His will and He answers.  This is evidence of the fact that we are His.  What possible reason could we have for not doing this?  Let us obey Him in praying in His Name, remaining in His will.

Commands of Christ: 88

Remain in Me and in My love so you can keep My commands and vice versa.

 “If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”   John 14:15-18

 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.  By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  John 15:4-10

In regard to God, love and obedience are inseparable.  Love is demonstrated by grateful obedience and obedience is enabled by our grateful love.  We remain in God through our obedience because it is the expression of His presence.  The same can be said of our love.  His presence with us and His living in us are demonstrated by our loving obedience.  He is literally living His life and will through us if we are His.  The more clearly we hear Him and the more fully we discern His action in our lives, the more fully we can live out this obedient love.  This is how we grow in Him and bear fruit by and for and to Him.

Commands of Christ: 87

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27

Jesus gave this command in the middle of His promise to send the Holy Spirit to live within His followers.  In other words, He gives this command in the context of giving us the means to obey it.  If we are living in the Spirit, walking by the Spirit, we will not be fearful or have troubled hearts.  He is peace just as he is love and joy and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.  Abide in Him.

Commands of Christ: 86

Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  John 14:11-14

This is one of the times when I find Jesus’ words a challenge to believe.  He says that if we believe in Him, we will do greater works than He did.  Forgive my incredulity, but really?  Yes, really.  I may not be able to explain it, but it’s true.  We will glorify the Lord by doing these works.  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.  Glorify Yourself in me and in those works.  Help me so clearly and fully discern Your will and Your ways that I might recognize the good works You have prepared beforehand for me to walk in, and let me not miss doing a single one of them.

Commands of Christ: 85

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and in Me.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”  John 14:1

Jesus said this in the context of the Last Supper.  He said this to strengthen the hearts of the eleven disciples in anticipation of their confusion and fear at what was about to happen over the following 24 hours.  He wanted them to know that none of it would take God by surprise.  The future, His future, and their future with Him were assured.  We need to take His instructions to heart in the midst of our own dark days when fear and confusion are real temptations.

Commands of Christ: 84

Take, eat, drink. Do this in remembrance of Me.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”  John 6:53-57

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you,  for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”  Mark 12:22-24

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;  for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” Luke 22:17-20

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,  and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

We need reminders of God’s goodness and provision and sacrifice.  In the same way the Old Testament festivals provided a visible reminder, the Lord’s Supper can do so for us.  It is also an opportunity for us to proclaim it to others.  Let us not fail to do so.

Commands of Christ: 83

Love each other.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:12-13

“This I command you: love one another.”  John 15:7

Wow.  This is pretty clear.  This is the distinguishing mark of a follower of Jesus.  We love each other.

How much?  The same way Jesus loved us.  Enough to die for one another.

Commands of Christ: 82

Follow and serve Me.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  The Father will honor whoever serves me.  John 12:25-26

This is the eternally true version of the saying, “You can’t have your cake, and eat it too.”  We can live for eternity or for this life, not both.  We can serve God or material wealth, not both.  We live for God or for ourselves, not both.  Jesus modeled this.  It turned out great for Him in eternity but not so well in this life.  Follow His example.  It turns out well in the end.