The Resurrection Means Forgiveness
The Resurrection means forgiveness. And forgiveness means life and salvation.
The first word out of His mouth, as the Risen Christ appeared to the disciples on Easter Eve, was a word of forgiveness. We might easily miss it. The greeting “Peace be with you,” might seem simply that, a mere greeting (John 20:19). But this is no mere greeting! It means that there is now reconciliation, where before there was enmity. Truly, sins had been atoned for, forgiven, and removed.
Then we recount that after Jesus had shown His disciples His hands and His side, He said again to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” Christ’s mission to redeem and save a lost world would continue. It would continue through His followers!
This is followed by an extraordinary action and authorization. The action was that He breathed on them. And the authorization was spoken, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” This is really quite something! Appointed ministers would be able to proclaim the absolution, that is, forgiveness as from God Himself!
Of course we do not take one passage in isolation from the rest. The Church would not arbitrarily decide who would be forgiven, and who would not. In keeping with the rest of the Lord’s counsel, she would know that she would forgive the sins of those who repent. The Church’s ministers would also know to say to those who do not repent, that there is no forgiveness.
When the Church talks about salvation, what she means is a “rescue” or a “victory”, and specifically, a delivering from, or vanquishing over, sin, death, and the power of the devil. And the order is important. With sin, death follows. And through sin the devil rules. Christ’s Resurrection proves that His death conquered sin. Forgiveness results in life and freedom from evil!
Since You Asked…
What is the meaning of the “KYRIE” (kir-E-A)?
KYRIE is a Latin term which is in turn is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning “Lord.” In the Latin Mass the term KYRIE was combined with the term ELESION meaning “have mercy.” In addition, the Mass included a three-fold response: KYRIE ELEISON, CHRISTE ELEISON, KYRIE ELEISON, which translated is “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” In our Lutheran Worship Service we utilize a prayer from the Latin Mass known as a Peace Litany. A Litany is a responsive prayer. This Litany is usually led by our Assisting Minister, and the congregation response is the KYRIE ELEISON. And so the Assisting Minister begins, “In peace let us pray to the Lord,” and the congregation responds to this and each succeeding petition with, “Lord, have mercy.” (with help from the Manual on the Liturgy a companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, publ. by Augsburg).