“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” John 20:22.
This verse leads to an interesting question, when exactly did the disciples become Christians? Here, where Jesus breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit, or when they were first called three years earlier, or at Pentecost? As you think about this, consider also, the disciples were preaching, healing the sick, and casting out demons prior to this incident.
Our journey of faith travels past many milestones where God shows up, sometimes in surprising ways. There’s no reason for us to be sitting around waiting for God to do something supernatural in our lives. If we have responded to God’s call on our lives, we need to be moving forward in those areas we already know God would have us travel. God will equip us further as we progress on our spiritual journey.
This verse reminds us we need to be open to what God might do and not have our ideas set in concrete, thinking now we are Christians, God hasn’t anything further for us. God may want to equip us for something we don’t feel ready to do. I’m sure the disciples didn’t feel like being “sent” (verse 22), at this point, they were still meeting behind locked doors.
The next verse goes on to speak about forgiveness. “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (verse 23). Jesus immediately connects the Holy Spirit’s work with forgiveness. If we don’t forgive we are holding onto someone’s sins which will hinder the Holy Spirit’s working in our own life.
I wonder if Jesus breathed on Thomas at a later time?