Having greeted them, he showed them his hands and his side. The talmidim [disciples] were overjoyed to see the Lord. 21 “Shalom aleikhem! [Peace be with you!]” Yeshua repeated. “Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you.” Having said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit]!” If you forgive someone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you hold them, they are held.” —John 20:20-23 Complete Jewish Bible
I had never thought about it until this morning, but it’s remarkable how Jesus got straight to the point here. When we read this passage, we are quite carried away by the thought of what it was like to see Jesus -alive!- after knowing without any doubt that He was dead. But rather than dwelling on that most astonishing miracle, Jesus moved on. He immediately told His disciples what to do next. He sent them out, with His peace and the power of the Holy Spirit, and what did He send them to do? Talk about sin!
Sometimes we forget how desperate we were without Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to raise us to greater enlightenment, to make our lives easier, to empower us, to make us happy. Jesus came because we were drowning in the pit–the toxic pit of our own sins!
Jesus is not a cheery, sanitized, beam-me-up getaway from the mundane dreariness of this world. Instead, He is the only hope, the hand that stretches out toward me above the quicksand, the strength that grasps hold when my frantic flailing is only dragging me deeper and deeper.
The cesspool we have fallen into is one of our own making, but we cannot possibly make our own way out. There is no way out as long as we are continually adding to the sin that is drowning us. The only way to emerge from the abyss is for Someone to take away the sin that is pulling us down. And on the cross, Jesus accepted all the sins of the entire history of humanity–all those who choose to allow Him to bear them–and He took away their power over us.
An unimaginable weight…He bowed beneath the quicksand of all the sins of all the people of all time, and by his sinless perfection, they were nullified. My sin dragged him down so that He, and then I, could be lifted up into new life.
It was ALL for sin. That’s why He came, why He was needed, what it’s all about.
The gospel–the Good News–is all about Sin.
Because Sin in the only barrier between me and the Father.
Freeing us from sin is the Essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, it’s simple. But it’s vital. At this pivotal moment in history, Jesus gave His disciples an assignment: Make sure people understand about sin. Help them to let go of it.
Because that is where the new life–the true life, the life we were created to live–begins.