When Jesus arrives to the disciples on the first evening He presents them with two gifts and commands: Peace and Power.
Let’s look at power first. The power, or authority, that He gave to them was to forgive sins. Specifically, He said, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” I think we miss just how big of a deal this is. Looking back to Mark 5:17-26 we see Jesus’ first major confrontation with the Pharisees. The point of conflict was over a paralyzed man. Jesus was was teaching in a house, surrounded by a number of people including the Pharisees and teachers and “the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” Some men brought the paralyzed man and, finding no other way to get him to Jesus, lowered him on his mat through the tiles on the roof. When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralyzed man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” This immediately caused a divide with the Pharisees. As they read Isaiah 43, this was blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins. Fast forward to this first night of the resurrection and we see Jesus empower the disciples with this exact same authority.
But are they, or better question, am I, prepared for the responsibility of forgiving sins or not forgiving sins? Who am I to judge? How can a sinner forgive another sinner? How can a forgiver not forgive another sinner? The very prayer that Jesus taught the disciples to pray says, forgive us as we forgive others. I am not capable of this level of responsibility.
Which leads us to the second gift that Jesus gave first, the gift of peace. Jesus didn’t just speak these words, but He breathed peace onto the assembled group in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ words to them convey a much bigger meaning. He is saying all that I have I not only make available, but I share with you as if it is yours. All the provision, all the strength, all the power, all the glory, all the time and love and (keep going) that I have is yours. Let’s take it to the extreme… you even have the power to forgive sin or not forgive sin. That is what He is saying. With the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit, we are united as one with Jesus and the Father. This is what He spoke of at the last supper. This is not a deputization of the apostles or a delegation to them, it is bigger and more personal It is Jesus saying to them, even at the extreme of forgiving sins, we are now connected in peace in the Holy Spirit and we are one, brothers, family, saints, eternal.
He was patient with them and allowed them to see, hear, touch and be with him
By being patient with me
showed hands and feet, talked to them, Asked for food, ate with them in their presence, with them over a period of 40 days, appeared to all of them and to over 500 others, lots of eye witnesses
They were the only ones to receive this gift directly from Jesus with His breath and His words
Only God has the authority to forgive sins, yet, He has authorized these disciples with this authority
Power comes from Peace, the words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Peace, as the Father sent Jesus, He sends the Disciples, receive the H/S. Authority over the forgiveness of sin (both ways)