What Does It Mean When Jesus Breathed on His Disciples?

When Jesus breathed on his disciples, it was a significant event that holds deep meaning for Christians across the world. It is recorded in the Bible that after Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

This act has been interpreted in different ways by scholars and theologians over the centuries. In this article, we will explore what it means when Jesus breathed on his disciples.

The Context of the Event

To understand what it means when Jesus breathed on his disciples, we need to look at the context of the event. The disciples were gathered in a room, afraid and confused after Jesus’ crucifixion.

They had heard rumors that he had risen from the dead but were not sure if they could trust these reports. Suddenly, Jesus appeared among them and showed them his wounds to prove that he was indeed alive. He then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

The Meaning of Breath

Breath is a powerful symbol in many cultures and religions. In Hebrew, the word for breath is “ruach,” which also means spirit or wind.

In Greek, the word for breath is “pneuma,” which also means spirit or wind. When Jesus breathed on his disciples, he was not just exhaling air from his lungs; he was imparting something spiritual to them.

1. The Gift of the Holy Spirit

The most common interpretation of this event is that Jesus was giving his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one of three persons in the Christian Trinity (along with God the Father and God the Son).

It is often described as a comforter or helper who guides believers in their daily lives. By breathing on his disciples and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” Jesus was empowering them to go out and spread the gospel message to the world.

2. A Symbolic Gesture

Another interpretation of this event is that it was a symbolic gesture meant to represent the disciples’ commissioning for ministry. In many cultures, breathing on someone is a sign of blessing or approval. By breathing on his disciples, Jesus was signifying that he approved of them and was sending them out into the world to do his work.

The Significance Today

The significance of Jesus breathing on his disciples is not limited to the historical event recorded in the Bible. Today, it serves as a reminder that believers are called to continue the work that Jesus began during his time on earth. By receiving the Holy Spirit, Christians are empowered to share God’s love with others and make an impact in their communities.

Final Thoughts

When Jesus breathed on his disciples, he was imparting something spiritual and powerful to them. Whether we interpret this event as the gift of the Holy Spirit or a symbolic gesture of commissioning, it serves as a reminder of our call to serve God in our daily lives. As we go about our days, may we be mindful of this commissioning and seek ways to share God’s love with those around us.