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.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And 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 withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” [John 20:19-23 ESV]
Can you imagine what it was like for Jesus to simply materialize in a locked room?
Visions of Star Trek transports and materializations come to mind.
I know that I would have been both freaked out and amazed.
Luke adds to the record of this event reporting how Jesus said:
"Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?"Isn't that the way that we so often deal with things that our brain cannot comprehend?
When something unexplainable happens we are troubled and have difficulty believing.
Things that seem too good to be true are often hard to believe.
To comfort them Jesus speaks peace and shows them his wounds.
In Luke's account he even eats a meal to show he was real.
Even those present in the room had trouble embracing the resurrection.
And how interesting that the Lord's first message to them is about forgiveness.
A bible college teacher once told us about his struggle to forgive and how this verse helped him.
He realized that those he forgave were forgiven even though his feelings told him they were not.
Many times I remember that when I forgive - feelings will eventually follow the act of forgiveness.
It is hard to accept the reality of forgiveness because of the conflicts we feel.
In such times it is helpful to remember the words of Jesus - they are forgiven.
I am in awe of the resurrection Lord. It causes me to realize my need to forgive.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.