“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
John 20:20-22, ESV
Here we have an eye-witness account of the most amazing event in all of human history! The risen Jesus, who definitely is not dead flesh, appears in a locked room that the stunned disciples hid out in. He is now flesh and blood, as real as you or me. The disciples are pretty much freaked out by all of this. Fearful mutterings can be heard, “What is this… who is this…who unlocked the door?”
The risen Lord walks in with 22 eyes fixed on him. He is confident, and walks with resurrection authority. He holds out his hands–they see for themselves the wounds the nails made. He lifts his robe, and they kneel down to see for themselves the holes. In spite of His brutal wounds, He shows He indeed is the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Savior of the world!
The disciples are ecstatic! They are spontaneously laughing and crying and leaping around the room. It’s like they just won the World Series, (but without the champagne!) Pure joy pulsates through them. He is very much alive! (Hey, isn’t that Andrew, doing a backflip?)
It’s in this ‘gonzo-intense’ moment, Jesus speaks–and they become very quiet. He proceeds to impart peace into their hearts and minds with a simple command, “Peace be with you” verse 21. Peace is a vital ingredient in the humble heart of every faithful disciple.
He then directs them to complete the work that the Father gave him to do. He now extends the torch of evangelistic work to them. Seeing the resurrection up close like this will drastically alter your life’s trajectory. (They’ll be further fortified by the coming of Holy Spirit at Pentecost described in Acts 2:1-4.)
It’s now the time for the excited emotion of the moment to put on ‘work gloves.’
In this Jesus had does something unprecedented, He leans over each disciple and exhales on them. Now this is more than just a really weird ritual. You see, His breath is saturated with resurrection life, and they inspire into their lungs the life of a risen man! They now carry his ‘life essence,’ and in the light of Jesus’ previous statements to them are any indication, they will need it.
When God created Adam, he gave him his breath (Genesis 2:7). Life is more than existence; it is the energy to “live.” When you really experience the resurrected Jesus, you will need more than good and noble ideas. You’ll need Him, and you will need to rely on his breath to lead you to wherever you’re sent.
Jesus breathes on all His witnesses–those who have been picked to follow. His breath fills our lungs, his oxygen enters our blood stream, where it now powers us on a biochemical level. You can never, ever be the same again. Never, even if you tried.
“If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!”
2 Corinthians 5:17