In the last couple of days, we’ve seen that the gospel centres in Christ and what He did. There's no human contribution to the gospel. But when we are identified with Christ and what He did, then that identification takes us all the way out of the tomb into resurrection and even into ascension, to the very throne of God.
As I explained previously, it's like being in the elevator. Once you get in the elevator, you go wherever the elevator goes. It doesn't depend on your own power or ability or cleverness. It just depends on the ability of the elevator. And the elevators destination is your destination. So why settle for less. If the elevator is going to the throne, why do you want to step off before that? That's at least my philosophy and my viewpoint and I want to tell you it works in experience.
Now we’ll look at the practical outworking of our identification with Jesus in our daily living as believers or as disciples. How does it affect the way we live? What kind of a person should we be?
I'm going to commence with what I consider to be one of the most exciting and also challenging statements of the New Testament. It's found in John chapter 20, verses 19 ‑ 22. It describes the first appearance of Jesus after His resurrection to His disciples collectively in a group. It happened on the evening of the Sunday of the resurrection. The disciples were shut away in a locked room for fear of the Jews and suddenly Jesus was right there in their midst. This is what happened:
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" [That's the typical oriental greeting. That's still what they say today, "Peace be with you."] After He said this, He showed them his hands and side, [to prove to them that that was the very same person that they had seen hanging on the cross] 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”." (NIV)
And through that inbreathed breath of the resurrected Christ in a totally new way the Holy Spirit entered into each of those disciples and through the Holy Spirit, the very life and nature of Jesus were imparted to them. And on the basis of that impartation of His own life and nature Jesus was able to say to them those astonishing words, "As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you."
The Father sent Jesus into the world to fulfil a unique task which no one else could fulfil. Jesus fulfilled the task and was about to return to the Father, but He didn't leave Himself without representatives on the earth. He said to those disciples, "Just in the same way the Father originally sent Me to fulfil a special task, now in turn I am sending you, My disciples, to fulfil a special task. I will be returning to the Father but I'll be leaving you on earth as my representatives to fulfil a special task." And He said, "Just as the Father sent Me, I am sending you."
Father, what a privilege, that You are sending me, just as You’ve sent Your Son Jesus! Please help me to fully live my life for You, and to really understand my life doesn’t belong to me anymore. Show me how You are sending me, to fulfil the special task You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!