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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
B - The Resurrection and Appearance of Christ (John 20:1 - 21:25)

2. Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room (John 20:19-23)

JOHN 20:22-23
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.”

Perhaps the disciples were alarmed, when Jesus said, "As the Father sent me, so send I you." They were still in a locked room for fear of the Jews. They found no energy in themselves, but had lately experienced total failure. So Jesus breathed into his disciples, as God had breathed his life-giving spirit into Adam to become a living soul. By this breathing, Jesus demonstrated his role as Creator; he began a new creation in those disciples, and assured them that his Spirit and power with authority would be upon them, enabling them to display the Father’s image in their lives.

When the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, Christ delegated to them the terms whereby people would have the forgiveness of sins. They were to proclaim pardon to all who accepted those conditions, and declare the withholding of pardon from those who reject such conditions.

They were to announce forgiveness of sins as representing the Lord Christ. On the basis of their confession they would be received in Christ’s Church.

Jesus gave his disciples authority to proclaim forgiveness, rather than to forgive; God alone does the forgiving (Isaiah 43:25).

Jesus bids you become an ambassador in this evil world, he wants to advance his saving power through you. Do not go out in zeal to speak with your limited abilities, but remain in contact with your Lord. Every ambassador in public life communicates with his King or President to receive instructions and guidance daily, and then applies them daily. You are not a minor godling acting independently, but you are the Lord’s servant. He longs to redeem others through you. Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, but open your minds and consciences, that the Holy Spirit may make you Christ’s witnesses boldly, yet humbly and wisely.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I am not worthy for you to enter my house; you, however, have spoken and granted me your Holy Spirit, illumining and reviving me. You have sent me to testify on your behalf to mankind. Thank you because your power is made perfect in my weakness. Keep me humble without hypocrisy, cleanse me of all selfish thoughts, that I may be always in line with your will. Then your peace will reach many.


  1. Who is the Holy Spirit? What does he do through your witness to Christ?


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