Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Trust and Forgiveness
A father is about to hand the keys to his 16-year-old for the very first time. After last-minute instructions about buckling up and checking the rear-view mirror, he hands over the keys with a bit of reluctant hesitation. Why? He knows keys come with power and require responsibility.
A living Jesus confidently tossed a set of keys to his disciples. “It’s all yours,” he says, “I give you the keys to my kingdom.” There are earthly keys to a car, house, shed, boat, or bank vault. The keys Jesus gives are just as real, yet so powerful, they open and close heaven itself.
Heaven doesn’t have doors of wood or metal, but Jesus has the opening and closing of heaven in mind when he hands off two keys with these instructions, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” One key locks. The other unlocks. One key opens the door of heaven to the person hurt and devastated by the consequences of their own wrongdoing. That person then looks to Jesus and cries, “Lord have mercy on me!” The other key locks the door to a person still tied to their wrongdoings because they are not sorry for their sins. That person never looked to Jesus and asked for forgiveness.
What a powerful set of keys given us by a resurrected, all-powerful Savior! You have Jesus’ authority to forgive sins, too. Every time you say, “I forgive you,” you are speaking Jesus’ words and believing that Jesus untied you from your sins. His death paid for your freedom! His resurrection proves you are truly forgiven! And should you ever be forced to lock up forgiveness, may love for that person be your only motive—a serious warning, a sincere, loving call to repentance
Handle the keys of the kingdom carefully, my friends! Forgiveness is a spiritual power that brings spiritual consequences. Never forget the amazing mercy and grace of God who chose to forgive our sins in his Son and never tires of saying, “Peace be with you!”
Jesus, thank you for unlocking heaven’s door! Help me be mindful of the power that comes with these keys. No matter how big my sin, your forgiveness is bigger. Increase my trust in the forgiveness only you can and do give. Amen.
This week’s devotion focus on John 20:19-31 as we take a closer look at “Resurrection Trust.”