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John’s gospel post 84: Peace

April 21, 2014

John 20:19 – 23

The moment of triumph. Jesus is alive and has appeared to Mary.

But accounts of Jesus’ meetings with his disciples are quite sketchy.

Jesus does not rush to be with them.

That evening the disciples are together. Have they been together since the crucifixion? Or have they just got together and locked themselves away since the news of the disappearing body? The Jewish leaders would be after them as prime suspects.

John is keen to specify that the doors are locked. From fear. And Jesus comes and stands among them. Was this their first sight of him for most of the disciples?

Inevitably the level of fear is increased. Jesus moves quickly to calm them.

“Peace be with you”.

They need peace. They know fear and confusion and a little outrageous hope. Jesus offers peace.

The conversation is not recorded. If indeed there was one. He shows them his hands, with their crucifixion wounds. And his side – the spear wound still visible.

Jesus commissions them to go and speak on his behalf. He encourages them to receive the Holy Spirit. What did this mean? Most will acknowledge that the Holy Spirit came some weeks later as the disciples gathered again at Pentecost. And yet he says now “receive the Holy Spirit”.

And he gives his disciples power. The power of forgiveness. A power we all have. It is surely not that he is saying there are some people we should not forgive. As Christians we are to offer the message of forgiveness in Jesus. Whether people receive that forgiveness is for their own response.

God’s grace is free.


From → Christianity

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