Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
John 20:19-23 (NIV)
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
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.”
After Jesus died the disciples were afraid they might be next. But while locked inside a house, Jesus comes in the flesh! He still has the scars, but they have no power over him. Life is flowing from him. He breathes on them the life-giving Spirit of God and then gives them a mission: forgive sins! If you want to bring joy and new life start forgiving sins! The Holy Spirit gives us strength to do it! It will fill us with joy as we stop holding grudges against others. Maybe we need to forgive our spouse or children and bring joy in our home? Maybe we need to forgive a friend or neighbor and bring joy to our workplace or neighborhood? Maybe we need to forgive someone for what they said on Facebook? Or maybe we need to forgive ourselves because Jesus already has?! Jesus has given us an incredible gift to move us from fear into a mission of joy!