God Gives More than Enough
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It is the “first day of the week” (John 20:19), the day of the new creation, but to those locked away in the upper room in fear, the world is as it always has been. So entrenched are they in the ways of grief and guilt that the Risen One in their midst needs to offer his life-giving invitation twice: “Peace be with you.” The logic of the new age is peace, not retribution; forgiveness, not vengeance. With the invitation to new life comes also the means: the gift of the Holy Spirit, breathed upon them and within them. Just as the Father sent Jesus into the world, so now are these disciples sent as witnesses to God’s saving work.
Pentecost is therefore the crowning achievement of the Jesus story. Now, more than ever, these huddled disciples would have just cause to sing the “Dayenu” (“It would have been enough”) verses from the Passover seder meal, but revised: It would have been enough for the Word and wisdom of God to have been born in the flesh . . . Dayenu! It would have been enough for the Word to grow to adulthood and share his stunning parables about God’s gracious activity in the world . . . Dayenu! It would have been enough for this Word to say to his enemies, “Father, forgive them” . . . Dayenu! It would have been enough for this Word to have died on a cross for us . . . Dayenu! It would have been enough that he rose again in blessing, not vengeance . . . Dayenu! But now, beyond what we would even expect—the Word becomes our word and it is written on our hearts at Pentecost . . . Dayenu! It is enough, and more than enough to enflame our ministry of reconciliation in a world in need of a healing word.
Gospel: John 20:19-23
The risen Jesus appears to his disciples, offering them a benediction, a commission, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
19When 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.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”