“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 20:21-23
Once again, Jesus spoke peace into that locked room of disciples who were hiding in fear. Jesus was alive, and Jesus was standing before these disciples. They had seen his hands and his side. Jesus was fully healed and fully alive, yet the wounds remained apparent on his body. These wounds attested to the fact that this was indeed Jesus, the one who had been crucified and buried, and the one who had been raised from the dead. His body was a real, resurrected body.
While the humanity of Jesus was clearly seen in his wounds and the ways in which he related to the disciples, the divinity of Jesus was also obvious. He appeared in the room; it doesn’t say that he knocked on the door or sent a messenger ahead of him to make sure the door would be opened. Instead, he appeared among them. Just as the grave could not hold him in, neither could locked doors keep him out.
Jesus was alive and that changed everything for these cowardly disciples. They would come to understand the words that Jesus had spoken so many times: he would be betrayed, handed over to sinful men, crucified, then raised to life again on the third day. Even when the disciples did not understand or believe the initial reports of his resurrection, Jesus made himself visible and known to his disciples. Their mourning had turned into joy just as Jesus had said would happen (John 16:20).
Now that they had seen and heard the Lord, they would be commissioned to go out as his ambassadors into this world. Just as the Father had sent the Son, so now the Son would send his disciples. But they were not to go out alone; Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. Through this Holy Spirit, the disciples would be transformed from fearful, unbelieving men to bold witnesses of Jesus Christ. They would continue the work of healing, preaching, and teaching. Through them, the church would be built.
Now, we are his disciples. We are also to be transformed by the Holy Spirit for the work of the Gospel and to build the church. Reflection:
How have you received this calling of Christ on your life? In what ways could you surrender to that call more and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit?
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