And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22
A few essentials are needed to run: water, food, clothes, shoes, and, of course, breath. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You need to breathe when running. If you don’t breathe, you won’t go far. After Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and before His ascension into heaven, His disciples learned that a few essentials were also needed to proclaim the Good News of salvation to the world. They needed living water (John 4:10), the bread of life (John 6:51), clothes of righteousness (Galatians 3:27), shoes (Ephesians 6:15), and breath.
But this breath is different than the breath needed by a runner. Jesus breathed on them the breath of life, the Holy Spirit. As the One who calls, gathers, and enlightens, the Holy Spirit was essential for the disciples to be able to complete the work Christ gave to them. This life-giving breath is also essential for us. The Holy Spirit called us by the Gospel, gathered us into God’s kingdom, and enlightened us with His gifts. Only He can begin faith in one’s heart, and only He can equip us to share that faith with others.
Welcome Home effort – Jesus, our loving Shepherd, “we all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way,” but you have sought us out and brought us into your fold. May our thanks for your mercy drive us to show the same love to and patience with our fellow members. Help us to invite them to worship and Bible study, to grow in your Word and through the Lord’s Supper, because we know the joy and confidence this brings. Bless our synod’s “Welcome Home” efforts to bring us all closer to you. Amen.