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Posts Tagged ‘John 20’

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.” – Jesus (John 20:23 CEV)

Some think Jesus in this verse gives the apostles (and their the successors) the authority to decide who gets forgiveness and who doesn’t. This view has resulted in many abuses and is inconsistent with Christ’s mission to bring forgiveness to all who would receive him. So what did Jesus mean?

Jesus wasn’t putting them in charge of who gets forgiveness, he was giving them a commission.  I think he was saying his plan for taking his forgiveness to the world is through his followers participation – us offering our forgiveness as God’s divine forgiveness working through us.   I think he was further saying he has no backup plan – if we refuse then it won’t get done, the world will die in their sins, and it will be our fault.

This only makes sense – how can my neighbor (or brother, sister, boss, employee – you name it) know the forgiveness of Christ if I am unwilling to offer it through me?

Sound Bite: Christ’s forgiveness comes through us and if we don’t do it, it won’t get done.

– fritz

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“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” – Jesus after his resurrection (Luke 24:39)

Jesus’ resurrection was not “spiritual” as we, today, define the term. He didn’t become a ghost and he doesn’t live in our hearts and minds like our departed loved ones; he was bodily raised from the dead.

This has always been a part of the faith. When the Bible says in Psalms 16:10, “neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption”, it’s declaring the Christ’s body would not decay like everyone else’s; pretenders can’t make it past the grave1.

Certainly the resurrected body is different than when it died; it could materialize anywhere2, was not always recognized3, is no longer subject to illness or death4, and is “spiritual” in the sense that it is not limited to this earth’s physics5. But it is a new dimension of physical that can still eat6, be touched7, and interacted with like any other physical object8.

The resurrection of Christ defeated our last enemy, Death9, and when Jesus returns our mortal bodies shall change to be like his.10

That is the classic “hope” of the resurrection, not being some disembodied ghost somewhere but wholy redeemed individuals in an actual place Jesus has prepared for us.

– fritz

1 – Romans 1:3-4
2 – John 20:19
3 – John 21:4
4 – Romans 6:9
5 – 1 Corin. 15:44 Not “a spirit” but “spiritual body”
6 – Luke 24:41-42
7 – Luke 24:39
8 – Acts 1:3
9 – 1st Corinthians 15:26
10 – Philippians 3:21

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Recognizing Christ

[Mary] “turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus … Thinking he was the gardener …” – John 20:14, 15b

Jesus is not always recognizable1; we see gardeners, plumbers, doctors, our parents, our children but not Jesus.

C.S.Lewis put is this way:

You may say `I’ve never had the sense of being helped by an invisible Christ, but I often have been helped by other human beings.’ That is rather like the woman in the first war who said that if there were a bread shortage it would not bother her house because they always ate toast. If there is no bread there will be no toast. If there were no help from Christ, there would be no help from other human beings… At first it is natural for a baby to take its mother’s milk without knowing its mother. It is equally natural for us to see the man who helps us without seeing Christ behind him. But we must not remain babies. We must go on to recognise the real Giver. It is madness not to.
– C.S. Lewis2

Today, with God’s help I shall recognize Christ through the gracious deeds of others.

-fritz
1 – Related Post: God Opens Eyes
2 – C.S.Lewis Mere Christianity Chapter 29

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Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing … when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.” – John 21:3,4 (KJV)

Sometimes God isn’t recognizable by even his closest friends. This happened to the disciples, Mary, hikers on the road to Emmaus, Sampson’s parents; I think it continues even today. We sometimes encounter Him and don’t realize it until after.

Sometimes a complete stranger show up and gives us advice which is just the right word we needed.

As with Mary in the garden tomb, filled with grief, and thinking someone has taken away our faith (John 20:15), God speaks our name and we realize He has been with us all along.

Like the hikers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), we hear the Word of God preached and the bread broken (communion) and our hearts burn within us and we know we heard from God.

Sometimes, like Sampson’s parents we grieve our children’s choices (Judges 14:4) but later discover God had a greater plan.

Prayer: “Jesus, help me to recognize you in the events of my life, trust you completely, and love you fully. Amen.”

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