2017-02-26 – John 20.19-23 – Resurrection Commission

2017-02-26 – John 20:19-23 – Resurrection Commission

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 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.”

Good morning everyone. I am so pleased to see you all here today.

We had the wonderful privilege to baptize five saints last week, can I get an Amen! Here is a short video..          Please come forward.. (Certificates/cards).

Illinois Baptist Newspaper

Please turn in your Bible to John 20:19-23, or Page 115 in the Pew Bible.  Which is the Inspired, Infallible, and Living Word of God     [PRAYER]

Last week in our message we went over how Jesus rose from the grave, the stone seal in front of the tomb was rolled away, and the tomb was empty. Mary and the Disciples were shocked and didn’t know what to make of it. Mary thought that maybe the gardener stole the body away, but then found that the man she thought was a gardener was in fact Jesus Himself. Jesus told her to go tell the disciples that He was alive. Mary Magdalene was so emotional she didn’t even want to let Jesus go. This resurrection event was the most important event in all of History. If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave then He would be considered a fake. But because He did rise, all fear is gone.

Jesus is Alive and now we have hope, that is the Gospel Message. That takes us to our first verses for today’s message:

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews,

This was the first Sunday evening following Jesus being put in the tomb the Friday before, and the Disciples in our verse here were all afraid. They had just witnessed what was done to Jesus on the cross; the illegal trials, the beatings, the mocking, and of course the crucifixion; they were truly in fear that they were next on the persecutors agenda. They locked the doors so nobody could come in. But Jesus wasn’t a nobody that is for sure..

Remember also that they saw the tomb empty with the stone rolled away earlier the same day, and Mary Magdalene said she saw Jesus, they probably didn’t know what to make of that. They might also have been afraid knowing that the Jewish and Roman authorities was looking for who might have taken the body, and the first place they might look is at them. But notice they were dealing with these issues together. As a church and as disciples of Christ, especially in difficult times, must not forsake the assembling of themselves together, (Heb. 10:25).

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Our first verse said that their door was locked. Other than Thomas, they were all there. They were not anticipating nor wanting any company. The door was locked, but here it says Jesus came and stood among them. Where did He come from? How did He get there?

I am here to tell you that no door or lock can keep Jesus out. This door was probably wooden, but you could have the most up-to-date solid core steel door with a bolt lock and it would be like butter to Jesus if He wanted to get through. But notice that it actually doesn’t say that Jesus went through the door or wall, of which is how I had learned it, but I looked and looked and I find no real evidence of that. He could have, that I have no doubt, and He might have, but our verse here today doesn’t say that. It just says He came and stood among them.

Jesus immediately showed them His hands and His side because they would surely want to see it. I know I would have as well. Jesus knows what we want and what we need. If you ever have doubt, don’t hesitate to ask Jesus for proof, but be careful of what you ask for because it may not come the way you expect it. Personally, I need no other proof. I don’t need any miracles, or signs. As I am very mature in my faith, but I remember times when I was younger where I would ask God if that is really you then do this or that.

I was privileged to host for several years a Bible study at John Deere Headquarters. This is a mixed group of Christians from many different church backgrounds. Several times in those meetings, someone would talk about receiving the gift of speaking in tongues or something else. I shocked them by saying that I don’t need any more proof of the Holy Spirit being alive in me.

I have God’s Word and I see the fruit of the Spirit in my life and that is good enough. Now I am not proposing that speaking in tongues is fake, because I believe Paul affirms it, but He also said it is better to speak in ways that everyone can understand. In our verse here Jesus showed the Disciples His hands that had spikes run through them and His side where he was pierced by the soldier on the cross, because He knew that is what they needed to see at that point. Jesus knows what they and what we need and is receptive that need.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

This is the second time in these verses that Jesus tells them “Peace be with you”. It was a common greeting in those days.. still today in some places. Shalom is what they say today in Israel, and Salam is the Arabic way to say it, and both of these greetings mean Peace. I would propose that the Disciples here needed Jesus to say it twice. I could imagine what they might have felt seeing Jesus before them that day, right after they had watched Him die on the cross, and they put him to rest in the tomb only a few days before. Now He was standing right before them. As I was preparing for this message today, I wondered what their shock was like, the image that came to me in my twisted mind is that of Sanford and Son. Remember when something catastrophic happened, Fred Sanford would frequently grab his chest like he was having a heart attack. I tell you, if my loved ones all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere in front of me and said Peace be with you.. I would be in shock, wouldn’t you?  But Jesus said “Peace be with you”, and He is our Peace.

In this verse, Christ was now sending the disciples, or commissioning them to publish His peace to the world. In the old testament, Isaiah 52:7 it says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation”. Jesus here not only commits it to them but also gives us that same charge to be the sons of peace. In Luke 10:5 Jesus said, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person”. Jesus is sending us out to be the Peace to this world, are you willing?

22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Breathed on them. I find it a bit strange to be honest. It doesn’t say He blew on them, it says breathed on them. Maybe like this:::::

When I think of breath, what comes to mind is maybe a new baby taking their first breath, or a dying parent taking their last. Or I remember children bickering, saying “he breathed on me”, or maybe difficulty in breathing like somebody with COPD or Bronchitis. I think of Scripture being God breathed.

You might remember the story of Adam where in Genesis 2:7 it says “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. That is what comes to mind when I think of Breathing.. Here Jesus breathed on them then said Receive the Holy Spirit” So does the breathing have something to do with receiving the Holy Spirit? I did a lot of research on the topic, and to be frank, many teachers, pastors, and theologians have different perspectives on these verses. Some say that Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit that day, while others say that Jesus was telling them to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit later when it was given after Jesus ascended into Heaven. So, this is a little puzzling issue. I will give you my opinion on this, but just know it is my opinion. First Jesus just attempted to give them proof that He was who He was by showing His hands and the hole in His side. Then they were still uneasy so Jesus said twice, peace be with you. Then Jesus Breathes on them to make them comfortable with the fact that He wasn’t a ghost or a spirit or an Angel, but really Jesus in the flesh and blood and He was truly alive as they were alive. Breathing is normally indicative with a living person.

Then regarding the comment He said “Receive the Holy Spirit”, did He mean at that point, or did He mean receive it after I leave you in 40+ days, I really don’t know, but I accept either standpoint. We know the Holy Spirit is employed throughout the old and new testaments. The only difference is in the old testament it is used like a strategic weapon, when the Holy Spirit comes, it is used to empower people for specific tasks. But after Jesus ascends into Heaven He said He will send the Holy Spirit, and when we choose to receive Jesus as our personal savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and Jesus said He will never leave you afterwards. So weather this statement is a temporary indwelling, or a mention of what would happen later, I don’t think it really matters. But the Holy Spirit is Real and He plays a big part of the Christian’s life.

Then in our last verse today, Jesus said:

23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This too could be very confusing of a statement. If you take it as a direct statement, it would seem that Jesus is giving them the power of the Heavenly Father to Forgive Sins.

Instead I offer you a different explanation. Jesus knew that He would be leaving them shortly and they would be carrying out His Great Commission command to go out into the world and make Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28).


So when they (and we) tell people about Jesus and the Good News about being saved, we are effectively speaking for Christ, as His representative. We are the Ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the fallen world. In that position, we tell people how to be saved and how to be forgiven. We tell people what sin is, and what is God’s Will. God does all the forgiven, God does all the saving, but as His Ambassadors, we tell them what Jesus has told us and what is written down in this Operator Manual for Life called the Bible. That is what I believe Jesus is telling them here in these verses. We have His authority to carry out His plan and do His work in reaching out to the lost world around us.

In these verses today, Jesus was telling them that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He is giving you His Peace, His Power, and His Purpose. Jesus came into the world to make God look great, and to Glorify Him. He also said several times in scripture “As the Father has sent me I am sending you”. He wants you to be His representatives and Ambassadors. God sent Jesus to show His love to the world, and now He is sending you to love on the world.

The Holy Spirit causes us to love unlovely people, and we are to lay our lives down for just causes. And all the Fruit of the Spirit comes from the Holy Spirit for which is sealed within us Christians forever.

Jesus gives them Peace, Power and Purpose. In other words, He is telling them and equipping them to Represent Him well.  That now is our purpose for living.

That night, they locked the door because they were afraid. That’s when Jesus came to them. And that’s when Jesus comes to us many times as well, when we are alone and afraid.

Jesus came to them personally so they could touch Him and intimately know it is Him that rose from the grave. And Jesus wants us to know as well and have confidence in what we know. Jesus wanted to give them peace, power and purpose that day. The opposite of this is conflict, weakness and aimlessness. I have seen so many people in my life that seem to be stuck there, it is so sad to see. That is not God’s design. He loved them and He loves us, and He wants to give you that same peace, power and purpose. He won’t force it upon you, but he offers it, will you accept?