My Pleasure!

“My pleasure!” is the response you hear whenever you place an order at Chick-fil-a. I have often wondered if serving lunch to 2000 people was really a pleasure. I have joked about the probability of employees saying the phrase in their sleep! I have thought recently about something in my life, forgiveness, that is repetitive and causes work at times without much joy. Can you imagine the response you would receive if someone asked you to forgive an offense and you responded, “Sure, my pleasure!” Does that sound too farfetched?

I think we can find a Biblical basis for such a response in John 20:1-23 NKJV, “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the [a]handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to transition them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

On the evening of the day Jesus was resurrected, he appeared to his disciples and did three things. First he identified himself by the scars of the cross and greeted them with peace. Only the finished work of the cross can bring true peace in a person’s life.

Secondly, he breathed on them as in Genesis 2:7 and commissioned them to go into the world, as he had, in the power of the Holy Spirit. No more hiding behind closed doors in fear, but they were to go forward to change the world. Many scholars view this as the transition from the terms of the Old Covenant to those of the New Covenant. The Greek word “sent” in verse 21 is “apostello” from which we get the word apostolic or apostle. At that moment they became sent ones.

And finally, they were given the authority to preach forgiveness. They were commissioned to share the two-fold message of salvation and its meaning of total forgiveness.  No longer was mankind to be weighed down with the burden of sin but he was set free to walk in a new covenant with God!

Can you see how serving up the good news of forgiveness is a “pleasure”!  How amazing is it to feed the spiritually hungry with forgiveness?  As  sent ones, our response  to serving should always be “My pleasure”.

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