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Peace Be With You

Peace Be With You

28 November 2018

GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Jim Stephens

Scripture: John 20:19-23

19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23 NLT)

It was Easter evening.
None of the disciples had seen Jesus alive yet and they were still stuck in that awful limbo between discouragement and joy, between tragedy and triumph, between despair and hope. Peter and John had seen the empty tomb, but only the Marys had seen Jesus alive (And Cleopas and his friend walking to Emmaus).

The disciples were gathered behind locked doors because they were afraid. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders. They were accustomed to Jesus leading them and it was a big adjustment to be on their own! Some of them had last seen Jesus in the Garden as the mob took him away. Some had seen from a distance as Jesus was nailed to the cross on Skull Hill. Some had seen Jesus cry out and breathe his last breath. Some had seen the soldier pierce Jesus’ side with his spear point. Some had seen Joseph and Nicodemus take him down from the cross and carry his dead body to Joseph’s tomb nearby. But none of them had seen him alive yet!

Suddenly Jesus appeared in the room and said, “Peace be with you!” He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” They remembered,“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)

Breathe in – Receive the Holy Spirit. Breathe out – Forgive as you have been forgiven. Don’t underestimate the Grace and the Power of Forgiving!

Prayer:

Father, I think we don’t really get this yet! Please open our hearts and minds to the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of forgiveness! May we truly forgive as we have been forgiven—freely and unconditionally! For Jesus’ sake! Amen.

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