On the evening of the 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!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:19-23
Joy sustains us; fear is debilitating. Jesus breaks into the disciples’ fear and gives his peace to them. He gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit to be ambassadors of peace and righteous power to the world – without it they are just grown men covering behind locked doors.
God has the power to give us peace in our hearts and peace in the world. To be at peace with God is to live in harmony and forgiveness with Him and with His people.
As God sent His son Jesus, so Jesus sends his brothers, the disciples. We too are sent by the authority of Jesus, and fueled with passion and truth by his Spirit. We do not decide our own mission or vision for the world. We are commissioned by Jesus to do the will of the Father. And God’s will for us – as individuals and as a church – is to live lives of reconciliation.
God has forgiven us through his son’s death and resurrection, so too must we forgive those around us. Reconciliation leads to God’s healing of broken lives, his defeat of evil, and the release of mercy and righteousness into our fallen world.
Almighty God, may we live out your call to reconciliation in our relationships and in our churches. Amen