John 20: 19-23
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to 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 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending 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 withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
As I read this passage there are some things that Jesus taught me. I want to share them with you this morning. Nothing fancy, just a short simple devotional for you to ponder and then see what He says to you.
First, Jesus said “Peace be with you” two times. Any time we see repetition in God’s Word we need to pay attention. He said it first when He literally appeared before their eyes. Remember, the door was locked so I am sure they were a bit startled. The second time Jesus said it was after He showed them His battle scars. The disciples were celebratory and relieved to see Him I am sure, maybe even a little too caught up in the moment. But Jesus calmed them by speaking peace over them.
Secondly, Jesus gave some orders, “…..I am sending you.“ He was clear and concise, they knew what they had to do. That same order applies to us today – we, too, are sent out.
Thirdly, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit“. The Greek word here is lambano which means to take. There needed to be action on the disciples part yet again. They had to take what He had died to give them. The Holy Spirit is ours for the taking as well. We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved. (Acts 16:31) When we make the decision to believe and receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. We are filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, Jesus spoke of forgiveness. He didn’t mean the disciples had the power to forgive. God alone has that power and He used His Son to accomplish this. A better understanding of this is that they were to proclaim the Gospel message of forgiveness. If you believe, then you receive the Lord’s forgiveness and you, in turn, should forgive others.
What struck me most about these verses is that they occur after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus always has been and always will be a teacher. If we will just go to class, He is waiting with the lesson for the day. Won’t you spend some time with Him now? A good place to start is by reading the book of John. Just read a chapter a day and get to know Jesus better each day.