When I was invited to give this lecture I was asked to speak about the Holy Spirit in relation to my own research interests. I am currently working on the Resurrection Narrative in the Gospel if John in relation to what I consider the most pressing issue in our world today, namely violence. My overarching question is the following: what are Christians called to be and do in the face of the escalating violence in our world? In this lecture I am focusing on John 20:19-23, the scene in which Jesus appears to his disciples on Easter evening and commissions them to carry on his reconciling work in the world. I will focus on the second half of the periscope, vv.21-23:
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; any you hold fast are held fast (my translation).1
Schneiders, Sandra Marie “Whose Sins You Shall Forgive....The Holy Spirit and the Forgiveness of Sin(s) in the Fourth Gospel.” The Spirit in the New Millennium, The Duquesne University 5th Annual Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium, Pittsburgh, PA, June 12-13, 2009.