John 20:21-25
John 20:21 (KJB)
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Jesus once again bestows His peace upon them and this is not only an emotional peace for them not to be troubled but it also refers to the peace we now have with God through salvation in Christ. (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: When one is an unbeliever they are at enmity with God, but when they become saved, they are now at peace with God and the war is over as they become a child of God. Now Jesus gives them the essence of the Great Commission. As His Father sent Him into this world to complete the task of dying for the Elect and securing their salvation, now Jesus takes the same principle and applies it to the disciples and ultimately every Christian. As the Father sent Jesus into the world, He now sends us into the world with the message of the Gospel and the body of Christ will complete that task when the last one becomes saved on the last day.
John 20:22 (KJB)
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
When God first created Adam, He gave him the breath of life. Here Jesus is giving the breath of eternal life to the disciples. When the Holy Spirit will indwell them on Pentecost, they will be spiritually alive and will then go into the world to preach the Gospel. At this point, when Jesus had breathed on them, He told them to receive the Holy Spirit. The word “receive” is in the imperative mood in the Greek which made it a command for them to receive the Holy Spirit. It is a definite possibility that at this point the disciples were officially saved and sealed since they received the Holy Spirit. Since at this time they received the Holy Spirit, they also received the accompanying gifts which would enable them to begin the ministry and would uphold them while they engaged in ministry to the end of their physical lives. This also teaches us that the receiving of the Holy Spirit comes in silent reception and does not have bells and whistles.
John 20:23 (KJB)
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Remit and remitted - Forgiven, pardoned, or cancelled
Retain and retained - Hold on to, not to be forgiven, hold back or hold fast
This verse is not teaching that the disciples and all Christians have the power to forgive sins. (Mark 2:7 KJV) Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? The Pharisees accused Jesus of blasphemy when He forgave the sins of the paralytic. Jesus could do this because He is God the Son but the Christians do not have the authority to forgive sins. The Roman Catholic church believes that their priests have the power and authority to forgive sins which is totally false. No human has the ability to forgive sins. What is in view in this verse is that when the Christians proclaim the Gospel, those who are the Elect of God that become saved, their sins are remitted. Those who hear the Gospel and are not the Elect of God but stay in their sinful state, are those who sins are retained. Since we do not know who will be saved and who will not, it is our responsibility to send forth the Gospel to as many places as we can, anywhere and everywhere in the world.
John 20:24 (KJB)
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
Didymus - Twin
Thomas had apparently been somewhere else when the Lord appeared to the Disciples. Here we see another lesson being staged for the purpose of teaching us something. The Lord allows events in our lives to grow us up in the faith and after we go through those events, we look back and then realize that God had used great wisdom to bring us through whatever it was.
John 20:25 (KJB)
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
Thomas had come back and the other disciples had told him that they had seen the risen Lord. Now before we condemn Thomas for being skeptical, we must realize that when Jesus first appeared to the disciples He showed them His hands and His side. (John 20:20 KJV) And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. If you notice, Jesus showed them the marks and then the disciples were glad when they saw Jesus. Thomas was not the only one who needed a visual to confirm it was the Lord. Thomas was also the one who did not fear to go back to Judaea and die with the Lord if it came to that. (John 11:16 KJV) Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. Thomas was also being practical because he would have known as well as the others the method of crucifixion that the Romans used and the preparation for it by means of the scourge. So Thomas would have known that no prisoner really ever escaped death from the hands of the Romans. This may have led to the disbelief on the part of Thomas.