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John 20:19-31 "UNDERSTANDING THE MINISTRY TO BE ENTRUSTED"
Day 345 – John 20
UNDERSTANDING THE MINISTRY TO BE ENTRUSTED
Jesus had already reviewed three important matters with His disciples:-
1. The Faith of the Disciples required further work.
2. The Disciples needed to learn how to relate to the Father far better.
3. They also needed to learn how the Spirit of God would help them in their life and ministry.
But what was going to be their ministry? John wrote a very intriguing text that we must take time to meditate upon carefully.
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them,
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
How do we understand this text? What did Jesus really mean? Were the Disciples really going to be able to forgive sins? Were they going to be empowered to retain sins?
THE ISSUE OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
This text is obviously quite deep and complex. In order to understand it properly, we would need to look into several issues. One of the most obvious is the one concerning the subject of forgiveness of sins.
Luke in his Gospel recorded an incident where Jesus instead of healing a man in the usual way He did, spoke to him concerning his sins. He spoke to the paralytic who was let down from the roof of the house. He said,
“Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
This statement was so startling, that the miracle of the man being healed was eclipsed by this word Jesus uttered.
Luke noted how the scribes and Pharisees responded to what Jesus said.
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can
forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus answered the query of the scribes and Pharisees with this explanation.
“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’
or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?'”
Of course both statements are difficult to utter! Both are impossible statements to make unless one had the power and authority to back up those words!
Jesus used this opportunity to teach the people who witnessed this event about who He really was! He was more than just a brilliant Teacher. He was much more than a miracle worker. Could they understand this statement that He was going to utter?
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has
power on earth to forgive sins – He said to the man
who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your
bed and go to your house.'”
The point of the miracles Jesus was performing appeared to have been lost! He was the Son of Man. He had the authority and power to forgive sins, just as He had the means to heal people of whatever diseases they had!
Did Jesus mean to give this same authority to His Disciples? The answer is a plain “NO”! Nowhere in the Scriptures do we read of an instance where any Apostle forgave anyone of his sins!
What then did Jesus mean? The answer is “hidden” in the text. The Disciples would need the aid of the Spirit of God to understand what He had said to them.
A TREMENDOUS MINISTRY AHEAD
What Jesus was doing was to introduce to the Disciples the kind of ministry that they would have shortly.
1. It would be a ministry that would involve the matter of forgiveness of sins.
2. It would thus be a ministry that would require:-
a) Authority from God.
b) Discernment from the Spirit.
c) Power from the Lord to succeed in this obviously difficult ministry involving the forgiveness of sins!
THE PREACHING OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS!
It took power and authority to actually forgive sins! Only because Jesus was the Son of Man that He could speak of personally forgiving sins.
However, the Disciples would participate in this glorious ministry where man’s sins are dealt with. In the maiden speech of the Apostle Peter, he concluded his heart-stirring message with these words.
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the
Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and
you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Peter had understood what Jesus meant. Through the empowering of the Spirit of God, Peter had discerned what Jesus said. He and the others were to be involved in a ministry where remission of sin was to be preached! The Spirit of God would also be involved in the proclamation of this message! This was the ministry that Jesus was going to entrust to the Disciples! What a tremendous ministry entrusted to the Disciples!