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Thursday, April 20, 2017

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The disciples were huddled in fear. Their rabbi had been executed. Surely questions lingered among them as to whether they too might be handed over to the authorities. That evening the risen Lord appeared in their midst and showed them the wounds in his hands and side. The disciples saw firsthand the wounds inflicted by humanity upon God's Son. God's response to the horrible events of Good Friday stood before them--the resurrection of the Son. Christ's first words to the disciples are ones of peace and forgiveness. Just as Easter brings new life, so also forgiveness brings new life. Forgiveness is the contemporary equivalent of the resurrection of the dead. Christ appears to the disciples bestowing upon them a new commission. Just as he himself is raised, Christ authorizes his followers to raise fellow believers from the dead by speaking these words, "I forgive you your sins for Christ's sake."

God of peace, forgive my sins as I forgive the sins of others. Make me a witness to your sacrificial love to those I meet today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jason Talsness, '97
Pastor, Messiah Lutheran, Savannah, Ga.

John 20:19-31 (NRSV)

19 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."
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.