Appearance to the Disciples

John 20:19-23 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. 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. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father had sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive you the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained. 

‘Then the same day at evening’ after having gone to heaven and back (20:17). ‘First day of the week’ this and John 20:26; Acts 20:7 and 1Corinthians 16:2 disprove the theory that no Christian gathering ever took place on Sunday or the first day of the week. From John 20:19 and 20:26 it is clear that Christ honoured this day twice to meet with His disciples. Then, too, Pentecost fell on the first day of the week and they had gathered at least one other first day during the ten days of waiting for the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:1-8; 2:1). Christians did gathering on the first day or Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1Cor. 16:1-2) but no specific day is given because neither Christ nor any apostle commanded us to keep the old Jewish sabbath, or any other day, but did command all people not to be bound by any particular day (Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 5:9-11; Col. 2:14-17).

‘Doors were shut’ proving that resurrected bodies do not need openings to get into houses. They are called “spiritual” bodies in 1Corinthians 15:42-44. They evidently are like spirit beings that can appear and disappear or be visible and invisible at will.

‘Where the disciples were assembled’ perhaps the upper room in the friend’s house where the passover was eaten (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12; Acts 1:13).

‘Peace be unto you’ this was the common salutation of Hebrews (Matt. 10:12-13). Salutations became meaningless to the average person, but Jesus informed the disciples that when He used the word “peace” it meant something (14:27; 16:33).

‘He showed unto them his hands and his side’ proof of His physical resurrection (Luke 24:39).

‘As my Father has sent me, even so send I you’ the Son sends His disciples with the same impartation of power and the fullness of the Spirit that the Father gave to Him (7:37-39; 14:12; 17:18; 20:21; Luke 24:49; Acts1:4-8).

‘Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained.’ This is simply another form of expressing power to bind and to lose and to do the works of Christ. Binding and losing means more than declaring something lawful or unlawful. It also means to confirm the truth by power as Christ and the apostles did (Matt. 16:19; 18:18).

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