John 20:19-22: “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
(Observation) Jesus appears, bearing the scars of His crucifixion, in the midst of His disciples as they hide behind closed doors. Jesus says “peace be with you” twice, sends them “as the Father has sent Me” and breathing on them, says “receive the Holy Spirit.”
(Interpretation) I suggest to you that His appearance is miraculous and that His words “peace be with you” are more than a greeting intended to calm their surprise at His sudden appearance, but that they also refer to the reconciliation or “peace” with God that is the result of Jesus paying the price for sin on the cross a few days before and that He says it twice for emphasis. Next, I suggest to you that this peace, together with receipt of the promised “Holy Spirit” will abide in them as they “go therefore and make disciples” according to His command.
How is it that the Holy Spirit is received by these men before the ascension of Jesus and prior to Pentecost? (Acts 2: 1-4) I do not know. I will, however offer a quote from Jesus in Mark 17:27, “Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
(Cross-reference) Matthew 28:16-20 “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
John 16:7: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
(Application) “All things are possible with God,” most especially obedience to His commands. The disciples did, carry out the “great commission” of Matthew 28:19 & 20, as evidenced by our own faith today. Therefore, it follows I suggest, that we also can, in obedience, claim the power of His Holy Spirit in continuing to carry out the “great commission” today.
What do you think? Do you believe you have received the same peace, power and purpose that, by faith, the disciples received? If not, have you asked for it? If so, have you thought about how you will go about the use and doing of it? – To His Glory.