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John Outline
John 20:22

22 And when He had said this, He abreathed into them and said to them, bReceive the Holy 1cSpirit.


221 This was the Spirit expected in 7:39 and promised in 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; and 16:7-8, 13. Hence, the Lord's breathing of the Holy Spirit into the disciples was the fulfillment of His promise of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. This fulfillment differs from the one in Acts 2:1-4, which was the fulfillment of the Father's promise in Luke 24:49. (See note 171 in ch. 14.) In Acts 2 the Spirit as a rushing, violent wind came as power upon the disciples for their work (Acts 1:8). Here the Spirit as breath was breathed as life into the disciples for their life. By breathing the Spirit into the disciples, the Lord imparted Himself into them as life and everything. Thus, all that He had spoken in chs. 14--16 could be fulfilled.

As falling into the ground to die and growing out of the ground transform the grain of wheat into another form, one that is new and living, so the death and resurrection of the Lord transfigured Him from the flesh into the Spirit. As the last Adam in the flesh, through the process of death and resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). As He is the embodiment of the Father, so the Spirit is the realization, the reality, of Him. It is as the Spirit that He was breathed into the disciples. It is as the Spirit that He is received into His believers and flows out of them as rivers of living water (7:38-39). It is as the Spirit that through His death and resurrection He came back to the disciples, entered into them as their Comforter, and began to abide in them (14:16-17). It is as the Spirit that He can live in the disciples and enable them to live by and with Him (14:19). It is as the Spirit that He can abide in the disciples and enable them to abide in Him (14:20; 15:4-5). It is as the Spirit that He can come with the Father to His lover and make an abode with him (14:23). It is as the Spirit that He can cause all that He is and has to be fully realized by the disciples (16:13-16). It is as the Spirit that He came to meet with His brothers as the church to declare the Father's name to them and to praise the Father in their midst (Heb. 2:11-12). It is as the Spirit that He can send His disciples for His commission, with Himself as life and everything to them, in the same way that the Father sent Him (v. 21). They are thus qualified to represent Him with His authority in the fellowship of His Body (v. 23) for the carrying out of His commission.

The Lord was the Word, and the Word is the eternal God (1:1). For the accomplishing of God's eternal purpose, He took two steps. First, He took the step of incarnation to become a man in the flesh (1:14), to be the Lamb of God to accomplish redemption for man (1:29), to declare God to man (1:18), and to manifest the Father to His believers (14:9-11). Second, He took the step of death and resurrection to be transfigured into the Spirit that He might impart Himself into His believers as their life and their everything, and that He might bring forth many sons of God, His many brothers, for the building of His Body, the church, the habitation of God, to express the Triune God for eternity. Hence, originally He was the eternal Word; then, through His incarnation He became flesh to accomplish God's redemption, and through His death and resurrection He became the Spirit to be everything and do everything for the completion of God's building.

This Gospel testifies that the Lord is (1) God (1:1-2; 5:17-18; 10:30-33; 14:9-11; 20:28), (2) the life (1:4; 10:10; 11:25; 14:6), and (3) the resurrection (11:25). Chapters 1--17 prove that He is God among men. Men are in contrast to Him as God. Chapters 18--19 prove that He is life in the environment of death. Death, or the environment of death, is in contrast to Him as life. Chapters 20--21 prove that He is the resurrection in the midst of the old creation, the natural life. The old creation, the natural life, is in contrast to Him as the resurrection, of which the Spirit is the reality. As the resurrection, He can be realized only in the Spirit. Hence, eventually He is the Spirit in resurrection. He is God among men (chs. 1--17), He is life in death (chs. 18--19), and He is the Spirit in resurrection (chs. 20--21).