Following the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were filled with boldness and fresh hope, and went on to found the early Church. Those tired and defeated men who had slipped away fearing for their lives following the crucifixion came back strengthened sufficiently to change history. I have to admit, I find that one of the more compelling arguments in favour of the resurrection as a “real” event in history. I don’t think those men could have done what they did without it.
And here we are, in this Collect for The Third Sunday of Easter, praying for that same strength; strength to proclaim the risen Christ to the world. Now, I don’t think for one minute that I’m going to change history, as the disciples did. But that shouldn’t stop me from trying to share my faith with others. After all, I’ve benefited so much from it, and so can others.
And, in light of the “Great Commission”, it’s difficult to avoid the responsibility to share our faith with others. The Great Commission is the instruction to his disciples by the resurrected Jesus Christ, that they spread his teachings to all the peoples of the world. Although a version of it appears in Luke, John and Acts, the version we’re probably most familiar with is to be found in the Gospel of Matthew (28:16-20). In Luke, Jesus tells the disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness, and promises that they will have divine power. In John, Jesus says the disciples will have the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins and to withhold forgiveness. In Acts, Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will inspire them. And in Matthew, Jesus directs the disciples to baptise people of all nations in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian formula. It has become one of the major doctrines in Christian theology, emphasizing, as it does, missionary work, evangelism, and baptism.
So let us pray that we, too, will be filled with boldness and fresh hope; so that we’ll be strong enough to proclaim Christ’s risen life, and, yes, let’s pray, too, that we’ll be filled to overflowing with his peace, so that we can share that too.
you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life
and fill us with your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.
Additional Collect for The Third Sunday of Easter
is Copyright © The Archbishops Council