19 On the evening of that first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples were then glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even 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 anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”
It is now Easter evening, the first day of the new creation. What happens on the evening of the first day of the creation of Adam and Eve?
God comes looking for Adam in the evening.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, Adam and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?”
Remember the word for “wind”, “spirit”, and “breath” are identical in both the original languages of the Bible, Hebrew and Greek.
Adam and Eve hear the sound of God in the Garden of Eden and God ends up convicting them of their sin.
Now in the evening of the first day of the new creation, a different wind comes blowing in. Jesus breathes on the disciples. Instead of the wind bringing condemnation from God, the breathe of the Holy Spirit on Easter evening announces healing and restoration.
Jesus breathes on them and says “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The disciples are given new life.
This new life theme is connected to the original creation.
7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
So, now the resurrected power of Jesus brings new life to the disciples and through them, this new life is offered to the world.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”
God’s peace, his shalom, that announces everything is all right between God and people, is now given through people whom Jesus authorizes to carry on God’s forgiving work. We are his messengers.
“If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”
Forgiveness has arrived for good and now it is the followers of Jesus who pronounce forgiveness and new life for the forgiven, and who point out there is only death for those who don’t accept the forgiveness offered. We are the called out ones.
But, the message is no good news unless it is received.