Last week, on Easter Sunday, we heard about Jesus full of his Risen life, calling Mary Magdalene by name, so that she would know that he is alive, never to die again. Jesus tells her to go and tell the disciples so that they know, too. What do we think the disciples would do when Mary Magdalene tells them that Jesus is alive? Might they gather around Mary Magdalene, asking her more and more questions? Might they go out and look for him so they can see him, too? Might they have a celebration? They might, but they don't.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear
The disciples are gathered in a house with the doors locked. They are afraid. Why are they afraid? Mary Magdalene has brought them good news--Jesus is alive, death is not the end! It seems that the disciples are stuck. They did not like Jesus dying, and they are afraid of dying, too.
When the disciples are stuck in their fear, what does Jesus do?
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
When they are afraid, Jesus comes to them. The Good Shepherd is always with his sheep.
What do the disciples do now?
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
They rejoice! They sing, Alleluia! They are full of joy.
First they are full of fear, now they are full of joy. What has changed them?
Jesus is near, and they are no longer afraid; they are full of joy.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
Two times Jesus says, "Peace be with you." He really wants to give them peace. What does peace do?
When they are afraid, peace makes their pounding hearts slow down.
Peace makes their jumping tummies sit still.
Peace makes them ready to receive his next gift.
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Why does Jesus breathe on the disciples? We know we have to breathe. We can hold our breath for a short time, but then we have to breathe. Why? Our breath is our life. If we do not breathe, we die. Jesus breathes because Jesus is so full of life, he can never die again. His breath is his Risen life. Abundant life.
When Jesus breathes on the disciples, he is giving them his Risen, abundant life. He tells them that this is the Holy Spirit. Jesus' breath--his life--is the Holy Spirit. And he gives it to the disciples.
Now they never have to be afraid, because even when they cannot see Jesus, his Holy Spirit is with them. Always in their hearts, they can rejoice.
Wouldn't that be great, if Jesus would give us his Holy Spirit, too?
When we are baptized, water that is filled with the Holy Spirit is poured over our heads. Oil filled with the sweet smell of the Holy Spirit is rubbed on our heads. Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to be with us always.
With the disciples and Mary Magdalene, we rejoice in song! Alleluia!
We turn our hearts to Jesus, and we breathe out a whisper in his ear, Alleluia!