Daily Devotional Thursday 16th April 2020

by William Moody

John 20:18–23

18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

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,1 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 any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”


[1] 20:19 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time


After Jesus’ death the disciples were living in fear (v19). But this is about to change with the coming of the resurrected Christ. Jesus brings words of peace to troubled hearts. When we are missing peace in our hearts, what we need is a fresh encounter with Jesus through His word.

Jesus gives His disciples clear evidence that it was Him (v20). Having witnessed His death it was no small thing for them to believe that this was really Jesus alive again.

The disciples are being called here to go (v21), undoubtedly to share what they had witnessed about Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus gives them the Spirit to enable them to do this task (v22). This was the first fruit of what would happen on the Day of Pentecost.

The pattern is clear for all believers, we learn the truth about the resurrected Christ and then we go in the power of the Holy Spirit to share this truth.

What Jesus says next (v23) does not mean that the disciples forgive people, only God can do this (Mark 2 v7). In declaring the Gospel message, when people responded with true faith and repentance, what the disciples had power to do was to say that their sins were forgiven. If they did not respond with true faith and repentance, then they could say that their sins were not forgiven. The disciples were declaring God’s truth about forgiveness.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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