Condemnation and Forgiveness (John 20:19-23)

Condemnation and Forgiveness (John 20:19-23)

Jesus meets with the disciples after His resurrection.

Joy and Peace

When Jesus came into the room and they were assured of His resurrection the disciples were filled with joy. Jesus greeted them with the standard Jewish greeting of the time, an extension of peace. When we believe in Jesus’ resurrection our lives are filled with joy and peace.

Sent out with the Gospel in the power of the Spirit

Just as Jesus was sent into the world to save men from their sins, so He now sends the disciples into all the world to proclaim the Gospel. We have been commanded to go into all the world proclaiming the Gospel to everyone. Just as Jesus only began His ministry after the Holy Spirit came upon Him, so we must have the Holy Spirit to be effective Gospel witnesses. Jesus here gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples; the fullness of the Spirit would not come until Pentecost. Jesus is here showing that proclaiming the Gospel without the power of the Spirit is futile.

Proclaiming forgiveness

Jesus is not giving to Peter or the disciples the special power to forgive sins. This power belongs to God alone. What Jesus is doing is entrusting the disciples and all believers with the privilege of proclaiming the Gospel; God forgives those who repent and believe in Jesus. We have the tremendous privilege of telling repentant, believing sinners that their sins have indeed been forgiven.

Proclaiming condemnation

By the same token, we have been given the responsibility to tell men who are not repentant that God’s wrath hangs over their heads. We do not have the authority to deny this truth. We must be faithful to tell men that they are still in their sins and that they are deceiving themselves. This is what Jesus has sent us into the world to do; tell men of their judgment and point them to the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ death and resurrection.


Do you know the peace and joy of faith in Jesus? Are you walking in the Spirit? Who do you need to tell about God’s judgment for their sins? Who do you need to tell that their sins are forgiven because of Jesus?


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