“Receive the Holy Spirit.”
A Biblical Meditation on Pentecost,
based on John 20:19-23
The Acts of the Apostles tell us of Pentecost as it is well known; “When Pentecost day came round, the disciples had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were alｌ filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.” (Acts 2:1-4)
Interestingly, however, St John in his Gospel tells us of Pentecost in quite a different way from the above, like this: “The Risen Lord breathed on his disciples and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; If you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”
What is the truth of Pentecost which John wants to tell us?
First of all, John reminds us of the truth that the Risen Lord is God the Creator Himself. In the Book of Genesis reads; “God shaped a man from the soil of the ground and blew the breath of life into the nostrils, and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7)
The Risen Lord will do the same to each of us; He will give us life by breathing on us, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” as His breath is the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the Risen Lord is God the Redeemer who will not only make us free from sins by giving the forgiveness of our sins, but also will give us new lives of love in forgiving each other by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In this way, the Risen Lord is God the Saviour for all of us humans whose lives will be restored to the full, even to the likeness of Christ
Jesus the Risen Lord is now, I am sure, ready to breathes on you, saying;
“By human resources, this is impossible; for God everything is possible.” (Mt 19:26)
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.