And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:22-23 (NIV)
Jesus speaks His Peace and gives it unto His followers. He wants us to have it. But He does not stop there. He goes on to tell us to receive the Holy Spirit. Talk about heaping gift upon gift! Not only is He giving us access to Gods Presence and the serenity of being where He is, but now He is handing us the opportunity to have a constant Companion to guide us and help us through our day. He is giving us the very Spirit of God to move us powerfully and surely closer to the Lord. What blessed recipients! Then in the next breath He tells us that if His Disciples forgive anyone their sins, then they are surely forgiven. Wow! That is great! Does this mean that we too can have the power to forgive sins? Or might we be stepping ahead of ourselves as usual and ahead of what Jesus is trying to say?
The sin that lives within our nature has always sought to make the things of God into possessions of our own. As if we could remove anything from God, we secretly try to take credit for the things given. We also would love to latch onto blessings from God and hold them as we do earthly treasures to be ours and not the belongings of someone else. But in the Realm where God lives, all things are His. He is God. He is the giver, but He is also the receiver. He may hand something to another, but it never ceases to be His. He may give a gift, but that gift is not for the receiver to take and walk away from Him. The gifts given from God are always to draw us together. They are to tie us forever to Him. They are to bond us, to blend us together with Him. As long as we are with Him, they are ours too.
It would be a crime to try and divide these texts one from the other. How could we separate the gift of the Spirit of God from the forgiveness of sins? Jesus Himself states that only God can forgive. If we believe Him and trust His teaching, then we could never suffer to detach anything from God. In fact it is our highest pleasure to think that the blessings that come from God come together with Him. God must be Present to wipe away sin. But God is exactly what is being offered to us! We receive the blessings of the Lord, but with the Giver included! Sweet Blessing upon blessings! There is no forgiveness where there is no God. But we are unworthy recipients of this very Spirit of God! Forgiveness comes to us! Peace comes to us! The Spirit comes to us! All the blessings of the Lord come to us! But they come because we are with Him! Blissful music to our ears, to our hearts and to our souls!
Thank You for every gift given from above. Just help us to see and to understand that the real blessing we receive Is the Giver of those blessings! Let us revel in the favor we have so undeservingly found. Let us marvel over the One Who comes unto us! Let us fall so helplessly in love with the One showering us with gifts that we could never separate or be distracted by the blessings that come together with our Lord!