“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ’Receive the Holy Spirit.’” vss. 21-22
When Jesus died those who had engineered his death probably expected that the movement that had grown up around him would quickly be forgotten. After all, the crowds had come together primarily because of his personal charisma and appeal. With their leader gone, the authorities probably reasoned, his followers would drift away. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples and announced that the mission would continue even without his physical presence. And to make sure that they would be empowered, he breathed on them the same Holy Spirit that had directed and guided him. And because of that Spirit’s presence, the Jesus Movement did not fizzle and die out, but expanded and grew in astonishing ways. With no armies or armadas, armed only with weapons of the Spirit, that little group of followers–within a short time–had become the dominant spiritual force in the entire Roman Empire! Their message of forgiveness and love spread quickly and soon thousands of people were willing to pay the cost of discipleship. Today, all across the world, faithful followers are reflecting the presence of the Spirit with lives devoted to discipline and action, and in them the mission of Jesus continues to grow and expand.
Thought for the Day: How am I celebrating the day of Pentecost?