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The very personal act of inbreathing turns into a fresh call for his frightened and timid friends” [40 Days with the Holy Spirit: Fresh Air for Every Day, p. With this commission, accompanied by the intimate gift of the Spirit, the disciples are ordained and empowered to grant forgiveness (or retain it).
It must have been an exciting, if not also confusing moment (how do you make sense of Jesus’ ability to walk through walls).
Not only that, but as Levison also notes there is intimacy here—much like a kiss on the mouth.
And with this breathing in of the Spirit, Levison writes: “Jesus gives to his friends the new found authority of the Spirit, to forgive or not – but not from arm’s length.
For those who remember the days of the Sunday evening service, when we would return to the church for another round of songs and a sermon, the remainder of John 20 might serve as a foundation for such events.Perhaps wishing to counteract such interpretations, Jesus shows them the wounds from the crucifixion. This appearance also confirms Mary’s testimony (remember that in that age, the testimony of a woman wasn’t considered valid).As the evening wore on, Jesus commissions the community for its ministry.There may be another reason why Thomas is an important contributor to the story.Contextually it seems that John’s community is dealing with folks with docetic tendencies.