4th & 5th April
“If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus’ death and resurrection was a great example to all of humanity in what love really looks like. He came and was nailed to a cross, the ultimate sign of shame and rejection, murdered by the very people He formed with His breath. Yet all that exuded from Jesus was love.
In today’s passage we find the resurrected Jesus, in His resurrected body, greeting the disciples and showing His wounds to them as a sign that it really was Him. Jesus really did rise from the dead. Yet the words He passed on to the disciples in verse 23 stands as a landmark and an ultimate commission for the disciples then but also for us now, “forgive and they will be forgiven.” Jesus doesn’t give permission to His disciples to now take the place of the Father and forgive sins but rather encourages them that if someone wronged them, they should not hold onto that bitterness. To release someone from that wrong towards us, not only liberates the other person but also ourselves. Forgiveness is an exchange of love from the wronged to the wrong doer.
Yet why did Jesus choose at that time to talk about forgiveness? He has just breathed on them and given them the Holy Spirit, isn’t that enough? If we look at what Jesus had just gone through and some of His last words on the cross, we can get our answer. In Luke 23:34 Jesus cries out and says “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” talking of His accusers and murderers. Even on the cross, in His dying breath He pleads for mercy for those who inflicted death on Him.
Jesus was so full of love, that there was no room for un-forgiveness or bitterness. He knew the power that love had to overcome all un-forgiveness. He could only go through what He went through with complete peace and love in His heart. We can have all the gifts of this world, rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and even be filled with the Holy Spirit. But without love and forgiveness we will fail in our commission to show Christ to a dying and lost world. Forgiveness is an important key this Easter, in unlocking the hearts of the broken. Forgive as Jesus did and see the breakthrough in your life and others. Happy Easter. Jesus is ALIVE.