Christian Symbol - Weekly Devotion 2
The Second Sunday after Easter
May 5, 2019

(John 20:21-23 NIV)  "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 his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’"

Jesus repeats the word “Peace” and he adds more. He speaks of the mission of his disciples and gives them not only a special ‘tool’ and a special gift – the Holy Spirit – but also a special message. 

He is sending his followers out – and their mission includes what Matthew tells us: "Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’" (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)  

Here Jesus especially speaks of the forgiveness of sins. This is what Luther in his Small Catechism spoke of as “the ministry of the keys” or “the use of the keys”. These keys open heaven to penitent sinners but lock the door to heaven against impenitent sinners. 

For penitent sinners these words give comfort. Our sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did for us. This is the amazing peace God gives us! Let us be daily thankful to our God for such a great, eternal blessing! 

Prayer

Almighty God, who by the humiliation of Thy Son didst raise up the fallen world, grand unto Thy faithful ones perpetual gladness, and those whom Thou hast delivered from the danger of everlasting death do Thou make partakers of eternal joys. This we ask through that same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord.
Amen

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