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(Part 35)


April 7, 2013

Today’s readings:
Acts 5:12-16
John 20:19-31

After his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21). This is the commission given to the disciples. This is the same commission given to us. This is the work of evangelization.

What did the Father send Jesus to do? Jesus was sent to win salvation for all people, to restore their relationship with the Father, and to open up entry into heaven. The work of evangelization proclaims that salvation to all, so that when they accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, they will be saved and can enter into heaven to be with the Father forever.

The work of salvation is done, in that no one can add to the saving act of Jesus. However, this good news needs to be heard, so that those who hear will believe and accept Jesus. To be heard, there needs to be those who will proclaim. Those who will proclaim need to be sent. Thus, before Jesus ascended into heaven, as the Father had sent him, so too did he send his disciples.

Evangelizers do the very work of God! Evangelizers continue the process by which people experience the salvation won by Jesus on the cross! When the apostles did proclaim the gospel, “more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them.” (Acts 5:14).

God used Jesus to directly touch the lives of some thousands during his public ministry. God then used the disciples to touch the lives of even more during their public ministry. Through the centuries, God has used Christ’s disciples to touch millions, such that today one-third of the population of the world is Christian. The work goes on.

When Jesus commissioned the apostles, “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit.’” (Jn 20:22). With the Holy Spirit, “many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.” (Acts 5:12a). People were healed even just by the shadow of Peter falling on them (Acts 5:15). All the sick and disturbed by unclean spirits brought to them were cured (Acts 5:16). Those who are commissioned to do God’s work are also empowered.

Jesus saves, Jesus empowers those he commissions, and those he commissions work wonders. But today there are still those who doubt, even among those who do the work of evangelization. They have been commissioned, they have been empowered, but they lack the faith to work signs and wonders. To them Jesus says, “do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (Jn 20:27c). When we BE.LI.EV.E, then our faith will work wonders.

We did not directly witness Jesus’ resurrection. But in faith we hold on to that reality. And so we are blessed. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 20:29b). In fact we are doubly blessed. For we are instruments by which others who have not seen will likewise believe.

So we continue with our work of evangelization. With even greater focus, passion and commitment. We do this work so “that (others) may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief (they) may have life in his name.” (Jn 20:31).

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