The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John tells us that on the day of resurrection Jesus went to visit his disciples. According to John 20:19-23, they had locked themselves into a room where they hoped to be safe from the Jewish opposition. Yet the locks on the doors didn’t make a difference to Jesus. He came right into the room and asked God’s peace to be on them all. he showed his wounds. This was a good way of demonstrating to them who he was. And then he again wishes them peace.
The disciples were in need of God’s peace. They were in turmoil. First they had not understood that Jesus’ intention was to die. Then they had no idea that he was going to rise from the dead. Now, after the resurrection, he has appeared in the room which they had secured. This is quite frightening enough.
What we realize at this moment is that God’s peace is there for his people where Jesus is present. And Jesus is present in the resurrection wherever his people are gathered. He is present for forgiveness. he is present to reconcile people to God and to one another. How can this be? We see in verses 22-23. Jesus sends his disciples as the Father sent him. He breathes the Holy Spirit into them. And he sends them as ambassadors of his forgiveness. If they forgive sins they are forgiven. If they bind them, they are bound.
What if people don’t deserve to have their sins forgiven? Maybe they don’t seem to believe all that well. Maybe they are troubled by many sins. These people need forgiveness also, just as the disciples Jesus confronted, those who were fearful, who didn’t believe he had really risen from the dead, who didn’t expect that he was the forgiving and gracious Lord. The default is to forgive. And this is not our forgiveness, it is God’s own forgiveness. We are the messengers. We proclaim God’s forgiveness, administering it on his behalf. He is the merciful and forgiving Lord. This is great news indeed, delivered to people who had locked themselves into a hiding place because of their sin and fear. It is great news to each of us as well.
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