Read: John 20:19-23 NRSV
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Miracle after miracle. The resurrected Jesus passes through a locked door. The disciples see the evidence of the wounds that killed him. Jesus imparts the Holy Spirit. What is the miraculous power that the disciples now wield? Forgiveness. Jesus could have created the Justice League and instead gave them the miraculous power to forgive others. (Forgive-Man would make a terrible superhero.) The man who was crucified days earlier now gives his followers the power not to avenge, but to forgive. How disappointing that would sound to a modern audience! Forgiveness is so passive. What are we supposed to do? Stand around and wait for someone to wrong us so we can use our superpowers to forgive them? Wouldn’t the ability to fly be better?
Jesus isn’t interested in revenge, nor does hitting someone with a hammer actually eliminate sin in any way. Sin can only be mastered by forgiveness, and now we have a powerful weapon to combat it.