Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” -John 20:21-23 NRSV
It is Sunday evening. The disciples are gathered together in a locked room. Rumors are flying around about Jesus being alive. Fear and confusion abound. Then, in an instant, all fear is gone. Jesus materializes before them like something right out of Star Trek. His first word to them is peace. What an amazing entrance of the resurrected Messiah!
I love the way that he breathes on them, imparts the Holy Spirit and commissions them for ministry. So interesting that John remembers most that this holy mission was first about the message of forgiveness. Just a few days earlier John heard Jesus forgive those who drove nails into his hands. Now forgiveness would be the centerpiece of all ministry.
Father, forgive those who have hurt us and caused us pain. Help us to release our pain and join you in that forgiveness.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.