There is all the difference in the world between something being achieved and something being implemented.
Achievement speaks to something being accomplished, finished, completed or fulfilled.
Implementation speaks to the process by which what was accomplished is applied. It is about moving an idea from concept to reality.
What does this have to do with Easter? What Jesus accomplished on the cross and rising from the dead is now to be implemented. And how does this history-altering, life-changing event get implemented?
The resurrected Jesus tells us. Jesus said to his stunned disciples who were so not expecting to see Him post-crucifixion, “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.” (John 20:21-22)
Here’s a quick breakdown of what Jesus is saying:
Peace be with you. The disciples hadn’t experienced anything that even remotely felt like “peace” in many days, especially the previous three days. They were in hiding, behind locked doors. They were afraid, very afraid. Anyone coming through that door could be the end of their lives. But Jesus just sort of “pops in” right amongst them. He lets them see the scars from His hands, feet and side. They realize it’s really Him. And the first word Jesus speaks to them is Peace. Above everything else, He wants them to know He’s got them. He’s got their back, their front, their side—He has prevailed. What He came to accomplish was completed. Their greatest fear and foe—death—has been defeated. If your ultimate enemy has been conquered, what are you so worried about? So, peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. Sending them to do what? To tell people they can live at peace with God, with themselves, with others, with all of creation. At the beginning of Jesus’ first appearing on earth, the angel announced, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”And through Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection, He showed us what that peace looked like. Now that He has finished the mission He was sent from the Father to do, He commissions them to go announce this good news about Him that brings peace. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.
And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Attempting something as big as what Jesus had in mind wasn’t going to be implemented by this handful of flawed and fickle followers on their own. It would not be their brilliance, creativity, intellectual prowess, racial superiority or moral authority that would be the secret sauce of their success. It would be the presence and power of the third person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit.
So, this week as you invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers to join you for Easter at Journey, remember Jesus has got this—all of this, whatever “this” is in your life or the life of those you’re inviting. He’s won. So, don’t invite others with worry, fear or dread. Peace be with you.
And as you invite, remember you’re merely implementing what Jesus has already accomplished and you’re not doing it on your own. We may sow a seed or water a seed previously planted by someone else, but it is God who is at work both in you and through you. He is for you and He is with you.
So far this week, I’ve invited four of my neighbors to join us for Easter at Journey. One of them indicated they would come. Another one thanked me for the invitation but remained noncommittal. The other two are already connected to a local church body. In each case and regardless of the outcome, I’m just implementing the plan Jesus has already accomplished and I’m not doing it by myself.
It’s not too late for you to invite someone to join you either online or onsite for Easter at Journey. I pray you do so with peace, with a sense of being sent by the resurrected Jesus Himself, and with the assurance that you’re not doing this on your own. So, just breathe.
Loving the Implementing Journey