Reading: John 20:21-23
Verses 22-23: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven.”
Continuing in John 20 today, Jesus offers the disciples peace once again and then he sends them into the world – just as God had sent him. This means that they go with all of the power and authority of the one who sent Jesus. Just as he ministered, taught, and healed through the power of God, so too would the disciples. So too can we.
“And with that” – with the command to go into the world, Jesus breathes on them the Holy Spirit. There is a connection here. It is the Spirit within us that connects us to God and to God’s power and authority. Jesus says to the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven.” This gift comes with some responsibilities. The first and most obvious is the mission to go into the world to represent God and Jesus. Filled with the Spirit, we are to be Christ to the world.
The second responsibility is helping people in their sin. For most of us, at first at least, this is an uncomfortable thought. Sin feels private, personal. That’s the way Satan wants it. But Jesus knew how important community was. He lived and practiced community. Not just for worship or fellowship, but also for support and encouragement and accountability. In this second role we help one another to be freed from our sins. In a similar way we can walk with non-believers, helping them to find freedom from the trappings of this world. Both of these actions are fulfilling the command to represent Jesus as ones sent into the world.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s authority, may we go into all the world, bringing forth the good news of Jesus Christ!
Prayer: Lord God, fill me and send me out! Guided by the Spirit within, may the words I speak be your words. And may the actions of my hands and feet mirror those of Jesus. Amen.