† Peace be with you! †
Jesus shows His disciples
His hands & side, from which blood and water flowed,
saying “Peace be with you.”
He presents the wounds which turn our fear to gladness
and which restore us to the Father.
Jesus breathes on His disciples and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.
His breath, His words are Spirit and life.
Christ now gives His ministers to speak His forgiving, Spirit-filled words
to the penitent in His stead.
Our Lord continues to come to His people,
presenting His wounds to us in the Sacraments of water and blood.
He bids us to touch His side at His table,
to receive His risen body and blood in true faith,
that believing we may have life in His name.
† Jesus’ Resurrection and the Forgiveness of Our Sins! †
Jesus is raised from the dead without the sins He took to the cross; they are left buried forever. Put to death for our trespasses and raised again for our justification, Jesus, through His resurrection, announces and declares that our sins are forgiven.
When Jesus comes to His disciples, who had locked themselves up in fear on Easter evening (see John 20:19–23), He brings to them the glad news of His resurrection with His word of peace and the sight of His pierced hands and punctured side. His word of peace is, in effect, an absolution. Coupled with the marks of His passion, Jesus’ words bestow on His disciples the result of His death for sin: peace with God. When the Lord speaks His peace to the disciples a second time, breathing on them His Spirit, He sends them to forgive sins: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23 ESV). Only Jesus’ forgiveness, won at Calvary in His dying, holds power over death. Where there is no forgiveness of sins, death remains lord. But where Jesus forgives sin, death is toppled from the throne. Death no longer can hold sinners in its iron grip.
All of us will die. Unbelievers die in their sins. The consummation of such dying is hell. Believers die to their sins. The consummation of such dying is heaven. The forgiveness of sins bestows the gift of the resurrection to life everlasting.
Embedded in the absolution is the promise of the resurrection. When you hear your pastor speak those words, you are given the gift of your own resurrection ahead of time. When you hear the absolution, Christ Jesus is telling you that your sins will not hold you captive in the grave. Jesus died for your sins. God has raised Him from the dead. The grave cannot hold Him. Neither will the grave be able to keep those who are His. The Lord’s absolution is a word that gives life to the dead, and it is for you. Rev. John Pless
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them 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 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 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 anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (ESV)
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