I. "THEN THE FIRST DAY AT EVENING, BEING THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK."
A. Many things have transpired this day.
1. The tomb has been discovered to be empty.
2. Jesus appears first unto Mary Magdalene.
3. He then appeared to the other ladies.
4. He then appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus toward the end of the day.
5. These two rushed back to Jerusalem after their experience of meeting Jesus to confirm with the other disciples, the fact of the resurrection. You can bet that their journey back was much quicker than their journey to Emmaus.
6. When they get back, they are greeted with the story that Jesus had appeared to Simon.
7. Now the disciples are gathered together in the evening, no doubt trying to piece things together in their own minds.
B. "When the disciples were assembled with the doors shut, the Greek word indicates barred, for fear of the Jews."
1. The Jews were already creating the story that the guards had fallen asleep and the disciples had come and stolen the body of Jesus.
2. They were probably being hunted by the high priest. Sometimes people begin to believe the lies that they have created.
C. "Jesus came and stood in the midst of them."
1. He is in His glorified body that is no doubt made up of a different molecular structure than our physical bodies, thus impervious to material obstructions.
a. He had obviously passed through the grave clothes that were once wrapped around His physical body.
b. He probably passed through the stone that was over the door of the sepulchre. I am of the opinion that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out, but to let the ladies in to see that the grave was empty.
2. "And saith unto them, Peace be unto you."
a. Peace, shalom, was the typical Jewish greeting and continues to be to the present day.
b. The prophet declared that one of the names of the Messiah would be "Prince of Peace."
c. When Jesus was born, the angels proclaimed, "Peace on earth, good will towards men."
d. As Jesus was giving them their final briefing before the crucifixion, He declared, "Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give unto you."
3. "And when He had said that, He showed them His hands and His side."
a. Colossians 2
reads, "And have made peace through the blood of His cross." It is significant that He shows His hands and side in declaring peace to them. It is through the blood shed on the cross that He made peace with God possible for rebellious man.
b. In His resurrected body, He still bore the marks of the crucifixion.
c. When we see Him in heaven in chapter 5 of revelation, He still bares the marks of the crucifixion, for John sees Him as a lamb that has been slaughtered.
d. Isaiah declares that when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
e. Isaiah seems to indicate that we will be surprised both in seeing Satan, and in seeing Jesus.
1. Referring to Satan he said:
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
f. He will still bear these marks when He comes again to the earth with His church to set up the reign of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, "They will look on Him whom they have pierced." And they shall say unto Him, "What are the meaning of these wounds in Your hands?"
g. Ultimately the marks of His suffering will be done away with, for the disciples with Him on the mount of transfiguration, saw Him in His glory and splendor. So also John in Revelation 1
D. "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord."
1. No more doubts, no more speculation, Here He is the risen Lord, standing in the midst of them.
2. John 16:20
, He had told them that there would be weeping and lamenting while the world was rejoicing, but that their sorrow would be turned into joy.
3. John 16:22
: "And you now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no man can take your joy from you."
a. This is now being fulfilled as they were glad when they saw the Lord.
b. One thing that always strikes us about death is the finality of the experience.
c. This is true except in the case of the death of Jesus.
II. "THEN SAID JESUS UNTO THEM AGAIN, PEACE BE UNTO YOU, AS MY FATHER HAS SENT ME, EVEN SO SEND I YOU."
A. The repetition of the "Peace be unto you." This peace is related to their being sent out by Him.
1. The first peace was peace with God now possible by the blood of His sacrifice.
2. This second peace is the peace of God that accompanies us on our missions for Him.
B. He was sent by the Father into this cold world of darkness, to bring to it the light and the warmth of the love of God.
1. He is now sending His disciples out into the same world with the same mission.
2. They are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
3. Even as He was sent by the Father that He might bear witness of the truth of the Father, they are now sent to bear witness of the Son.
III. "AND WHEN HE HAD SAID THIS, HE BREATHED ON THEM AND SAID, RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT."
A. The Greek word translated breathed is used only this one time in the New Testament. Umphasaayo. It was used by the scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek in what is commonly known as the septuagint version in Genesis 2:6
, where God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life and He became a living soul.
1. What Adam lost in the fall as the result of His sin, Jesus is now restoring.
2. Adam's spirit died as the result of His sin. God had said, "In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die."
3. His fellowship with God was severed when his spirit died.
4. This is why the new birth was necessary. You must be born again, were the words of Jesus to Nicodemus if you want to enter the kingdom of heaven. There must be a spiritual birth.
5. Through the fall of Adam, man had lost that breath of God in his life. He became known as the natural man, possessing a natural mind that was alienated from the life of God.
6. Now as Jesus repeats the action of God in Genesis 2
, man again becomes a spirit being.
B. Jesus said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit." The usual word for spirit in Greek is pneuma which is the Greek word for breath or air.
1. Thus the imparting of the Holy Spirit to them by breathing on them was very significant.
2. It is the holy life or holy breath of God filling me.
C. There are those that would declare that this was just a symbolic act of Jesus, that they did not really receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost.
1. John who is very careful to explain the words and actions of Jesus to give us clarification was then remiss here in that He should have told us that this Jesus did symbolically for the Spirit was not yet given.
2. In the absence of such an explanation, I believe that when Jesus says, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit." That you receive the Holy Spirit.
3. Without the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the sins of man could not be put away. The sacrifice of the animals only made a covering for sin as they foreshadowed the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
4. Now that they had been justified from their sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, they could receive the Holy Spirit to indwell them. They could be born of the Spirit.
D. What happened on the day of Pentecost was the overflowing of the Holy Spirit as a dynamic power from their lives as they received the power to be witnesses.
IV. "WHOSOEVER SINS YE REMIT, THEY ARE REMITTED UNTO THEM, AND WHOSOEVER SINS YOU RETAIN, THEY ARE RETAINED."
A. Does that mean that I have the power to grant the forgiveness of sins, or to hold back the forgiveness of sins?
1. When Jesus said to the person with palsy, "Your sins are forgiven." The Pharisees immediately accused Him of blasphemy for they said, "Who can forgive sins except God."
2. What did He then mean?
3. I have the power to say to a repentant sinner who has just asked Jesus to come into His life and take over as Lord.