We continue our walk through the Gospel of John. Picking up at verse 20:21, we see the Apostle writing these words:
“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. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven.” John 20: 21- 23
This is a pair of those PACKED with So much POWER back to back scriptures; they could fill a large portion of a book if we developed them completely out.
“Peace be with you”, is the first thing Jesus had said to His Disciples as He appeared in a room that was locked that first night of His Resurrecton.Day. After He showed them His scars from the wounds in His hands, and feet, and side, He said it again: “Peace be with you.” Easier said than done for them at this point, but this was His desire for them. Jesus knew they had seen Him die, He knew they now saw Him alive which was more than they could conceive of even though He told them in advance what would happen. He of course knew what He was about to tell them would be putting them into a heavenly role that had never been seen or held by anyone other than Him. He put them on the same level as Him, as He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ They would have to have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and the presence and power of the Father with them to do what Jesus was about to tell them they would do. The Holy Spirit and His power and wisdom would come upon all Believers a little later at Pentecost, as is confirmed in the Book of Acts, but this was a ‘special annointing. These men who were about to be sent into the world to change it would do so. They would turn it upside down with the Messages they would bring, and the sacrifices of themselves they would give to do it. He elevated His apostles to this level with these words: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven.” What a position of power. What a responsibility.
The Lord tells all, who become believers, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” However, He does not give us the authority or responsibility to forgive, or not forgive sins. We are to tell the Good News, and leave the judgement of who is, and who is not a believer in the hands of Jesus. We tell all who will listen that forgiveness is theirs in Christ Jesus. We tell of His amazing grace, and His unconditional Love. We tell of the new life that overcomes the old; but the Lord takes it from there. We do not judge. Let us walk in the Peace that telling the truth of the Good News, in the Power of the Holy Spirit, brings to us as we do.
Peace be with you.