It seems like there was quite a bit of confusion and disbelief among the 11 and the others gathered in the upper room that Sunday. Here was Mary, the women, the two followers of Jesus, and Peter himself saying that they had seen the Lord. And even then, many of the other disciples simply could not bring themselves to believe.
And then Jesus appeared. Understandably, they were freaked out, thinking he was a ghost, particularly those that hadn’t seen him up to that point. And Jesus said, “Peace with you.” That was actually a very common greeting, like “Hi.” I wonder if that’s how he meant it the first time. “Hi guys.” But everyone freaks out thinking he is a ghost so he says it again more seriously, “Hey relax. Be at peace. It really is me.” And he shows them his hands and feet, and even eats some fish to prove he is not a ghost.
I can imagine that everyone wanted to touch him to make sure it was really him, and when they did, they were filled with unspeakable joy.
Then Jesus explained to them how all that had happened to him had been prophesied in the Old Testament, and he probably reminded them of his own words to them as well.
Having said these things, he then told them,
As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. (John 20:21)
You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:48).
At that point, he breathed on them, and said,
Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (John 20:22-23)
It kind of reminds me of another event in Genesis, where God breathed physical life into Adam. Here, Jesus breathed spiritual life into his disciples. The Holy Spirit came into them as a seal of their salvation, and as Jesus promised, he would teach them all they needed to know, and would be with them wherever they went. Not only that, we find in Acts that he would fill them with power to do all that he asked, to take the gospel to every nation.
In the same way, Jesus breathes life into us when we receive him as Savior and Lord. His Holy Spirit comes into us to lead us and guide us. More, he gives us the power to live the life he calls us to, and to accomplish purposes.
In short, we are not alone. The Christian life is not about trying to please God and accomplish his purposes in our own strength and by our own efforts. Rather God himself, through the Holy Spirit dwells in us, he fills us, and gives us the everything we need for life, for godliness, and for his service.
And the main task he has given us is to spread the gospel. To declare to those who repent and turn to Jesus that their sins have now been forgiven. And to warn people of the judgment to come if they refuse to repent.
God has given us the keys to the kingdom. When we share his gospel, we open the doors wide open to those who would walk in. So let us go out, filled with his Spirit, and open those doors to a lost and dying world.