Sunday Readings: Acts 4.32-35; 1 John 5.1-6; John 20.19-31
Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” – John 20. 21-23
On Easter evening the risen Jesus enters the disciples’ midst with two gifts — peace and new life. The sight of Jesus and his greeting of peace bring the community joy. These first disciples find the risen Jesus with them as Christians do to this day when they gather in his name.
Jesus breathes the new life of the Spirit upon his disciples. The peace and forgiveness the risen Jesus brings the community become their commission. Jesus sends his followers to make the lives of others whole as he has made their lives whole. He awakens their capacity to forgive each other as he has forgiven them. Jesus insists that what they forgive is forgiven but what people hold stays held, continuing to fester and irritate in the community. Jesus’ Easter commission is to work through hurts and harm and hold one another in joyful, life-giving community.
The gospel writers write to hand on to future generations the testimony of the earliest believers. The God who creates is the God who comes among us in Jesus to save, heal, forgive, and make whole.
When have you experienced Jesus’ peace and presence? When have you found new life in forgiving or being forgiven?