Saturday, January 21, 2012
The First Thing Said to the Church
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (NIV)
It is my submission that the Church was birthed in this room of prayer when the disciples saw the risen Lord and received the communication of the Holy Spirit. Others suggest that it was on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit came in powerful manifestation following Peter's signal sermon (Acts 2).
In the above verses I note that the very first statement after Jesus breathed upon His friends concerned forgiving others. Indeed it is at the heart of every Gospel message. Divinity has provided the remedy for the burden and consequence of sin. We are to preach this message. We are to exemplify it. Bitterness and pettiness will only mar the testimony and throw self-imposed chains of handicap around the follower of Christ.
To forgive is to run against the grain of this insecure society. It is shocking and shaming when observed in its innocent simplicity. The observer may be convinced that the God of this ethic does offer the means of release and a fresh start. In this fashion the Christian witness does cause the remission of sins (KJV).
If you are in a struggle of hurt and resentment, take it to prayer and expect the supernatural provision of liberty and love. In this regard you might examine the previous post:
Note: This little reminder came to me with force when viewing the resurrection and final portion of the film The Gospel of John. It is included near the bottom of our sidebar here. Have a look.