After - Day 26

John 20:22

Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."

Okay, this is a little new for us. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them, but at the same time, he asked them to receive the Holy Spirit. We know that later in Acts the idea of the Holy Spirit is explained and experienced in greater detail. But here we have Jesus bequeathing the Holy Spirit directly into his disciples. 

Mission, or sending is at the heart of discipleship, and therefore, the giving of the Holy Spirit is an important part of the discipleship journey, as well as mandatory for mission accomplishment, for we can do nothing if not prompted by the Holy Spirit. 

I thought this commentary said it well, so I will simply quote it: “If this community is to function in the way just described, then the gift of the Spirit is essential. Human beings in themselves are not capable of manifesting God’s presence and doing God’s will as Jesus did. Indeed, without the Spirit there is no spiritual life (3:3, 5). But Jesus now has been glorified, so the Spirit can be given (7:39; see comment on 16:7). At this point the life that has been in Jesus in his union with God is now shared with the disciples. The new state of affairs, described in the farewell discourse and hinted at already by the risen Christ (v. 17), begins to take effect among the disciples. They have been reunited with Jesus and now are given his very life by the Spirit—not only reunited with him, but beginning to be united to him. The word used for breathed on (emphysaō) is the same word used in the Greek Old Testament to describe God’s action when he formed the man from the dust of the ground and “breathed into his face the breath of life” and the man became a living being (Gen 2:7; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; also Ezek 37:5–10, 14).

This allusion implies there is now the new beginning of life, though, as George Beasley-Murray says, “Strictly speaking, one should not view this as the beginning of the new creation but rather as the beginning of the incorporation of man into the new creation which came into being in the Christ by his incarnation, death, and resurrection, and is actualized in man by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 5:17)” (1987:381).”

Rodney A. Whitacre, John, vol. 4, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1999), 480–481.

  1. Do you believe that you have been sent with the Holy Spirit? What does that look like in your life? 
  2. When has the Spirit given you a new life? 
  3. What can you do to express this Holy Spirit driven life? 
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