John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Jesus is saying that when His disciples went to others with the message of salvation, as He had done, some people would believe and others would not. Reaction to their ministry would be the same as reaction to His had been. He viewed their forgiving and retaining the sins of their hearers as the actions of God's agents. If anyone believed the gospel, the disciples could tell the believers that God had forgiven their sins. If they disbelieved, they could tell them that God had not forgiven but retained their sins. Jesus had done this (cf. 9:39-41), and now His disciples would continue to do it. Thus their ministry would be a continuation of His ministry relative to the forgiveness of sins, as it would be in relation to the Spirit's enablement. This, too, applies to all succeeding generations of Jesus' disciples since Jesus was still talking about the disciples' mission.


1. Trust God in every situation

2Ti 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Ro 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

2. god has given us peace and joy

vs 20 Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you!

Romans 5:1-11 We have peace with God and the Peace of God and His Joy

3. god has left us here to fulfill a mission

Vs 21 As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."



John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

The seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, commemorates God's finished work of Creation (Gen. 2:1-3). The Lord's Day commemorates Christ's finished work of redemption, the 'new creation.' God the Father worked for six days and then rested. God the Son suffered on the cross for six hours and then rested. The Jewish Sabbath is associated with the Law: six days of work, and then you rest. But the Lord's Day, the first day of the week, is associated with grace: first there is faith in the living Christ, and then there will be works. We also see how our Lord transformed His disciples fear into courage. First, not only did Jesus come to them, but He reassured them. He showed them His wounded hands and side so they would know it was Him, and they would know He had risen from the grave. Lastly, Jesus gives them a new purpose. The purpose of Jesus' incarnation was the spiritual salvation of the world (1:29). That also is our purpose.



John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'" 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Note that our Lord’s first appearance is not to one of the 11 disciples, but to Mary Magdalene. She will never be one of the apostles. She will never write a Gospel. She will never become a great preacher or leader. Nevertheless, our Lord chose to manifest Himself to her first. Why do you think this was? First, she had a great love for her Master, as He did for her. Second, she seemed to be the one with the greatest measure of grief. “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). There is a third reason: Mary was there first. Jesus revealed Himself first to the one who was there first. Mary came to the tomb early, because of her great love, and her great grief, and Jesus revealed Himself to her, first. Fourthly, I think that it was because she was a woman and He always appears to those who are the most downtrodden. An important lesson this text teaches us is when we come to see things as they really are, we will find that many of our tears were unnecessary.


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