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22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.


22 And when He had said this,

After Jesus commissioned His disciples, He then gave them the power to execute their ministry. They would now have the source to fulfill their commission.

He breathed on them,

Jesus’ breathing on the apostles was a symbol of His formal assigning of the Holy Spirit to them. It was a climactic moment in their lives and for the gospel.

and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Having been commissioned by the Lord, the apostles would need divine power to execute their ministries. They would possess singular powers to preach and execute miracles (Mt 28:16-20; Lu 24:47-49). This was a special endowment of power for the apostles in the interlude between Jesus’ presence on earth and the launching of the church, when the Holy Spirit would permanently indwell believers (Ac 2:1-3).

Reception of the Holy Spirit here was an endowment for ministry for the apostles. They needed special enablement in the period between the Passion and Pentecost to execute their commission. This was a temporary privilege for the next 50 days before Pentecost. The permanent receiving and indwelling of the Holy Spirit would occur on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus said that the permanent arrival of the Holy Spirit would not occur until He returned to the Father (Jn 16:7).


Ministry requires supernatural power.


As the apostles needed special power from the Holy Spirit to carry on their work, so do all Jesus’ followers. The ministry of the Spirit to the apostles was different than to believers in general, as indicated on the Day of Pentecost. Upon becoming a believer, the Christian receives the Spirit and His indwelling. We are baptized into the body of Christ, the church (1 Co 12:13).