Commands of Christ: 91

Receive the Holy Spirit.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  John 20:19-23

This is the first post-resurrection appearance to the inner circle of disciples as a group (except for Thomas).  This is a precursor of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given more broadly to His followers.  Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples in the context of sending them to continue His ministry of announcing the Kingdom of His grace and peace.  This empowering and this ministry were not optional.  The Spirit was necessary for carrying out this ministry.  The same is true for each of us today.  We are called and we are empowered and commanded.

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