Resurrection Life

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“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:21-2221Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (John 20:21‑22)).
There is a great difference between this scripture and Acts 2:1414But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: (Acts 2:14). It is clear from John 7:3939(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:39) that the Holy Spirit had neither been given to believers nor came to dwell in them in the sense of Acts 2 until after that Jesus was glorified. It is also seen from the words of the Lord Himself that He did not regard the action in John 20 as in any way anticipating the special blessing of Pentecost. (See Luke 24:4949And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49); Acts 1:45.)
Understanding this will prepare us to consider the meaning of the Lord’s words in John 20, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” This is the fulfillment of John 10:1010The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10): “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Before the cross, during His earthly sojourn, His disciples who really believed on Him had life, but it was only from Him in resurrection that they could receive it “more abundantly.” But the fact that they did so receive it involves the new place taken by the Lord as risen from among the dead. He was the Second Man in incarnation, but He did not take His place as such and was not in the condition of the Second Man until after the resurrection. It is this fact which imparts to the scene in John 20 its significance.
Jesus had already revealed to the disciples, through Mary, that His Father was now their Father and His God their God. He had thus associated them with Himself in His own relationships, and thenceforward He was the Head of a new race. When, therefore, He came into their midst, where they were assembled, after speaking peace unto them, He showed them His hands and His side and commanded them to go forth in the power of the peace He had bestowed. He communicated to them the more abundant life, enabling them to enter their new place and relationships. This life in its full extent will be conformity to His condition in glory.
We should also note that the very form in which He communicated the Holy Spirit, as the power of life, explains its meaning. “He breathed on them.” Turning back to Genesis, we read that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:77And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)). The first man was quickened by a divine communication of breath — was then “made a living soul”; “the last Adam,” as a quickening Spirit, breathed upon His disciples His own life in resurrection, and they lived in its power through the Holy Spirit.
What the disciples received in John 20 was the Holy Spirit as the power of life, corresponding with what we find in Romans 8:1-111There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:1‑11). On the day of Pentecost they received the indwelling of the Spirit as power, as the anointing, as well as the earnest, the seal and the Spirit of adoption. And thus it was not until Pentecost that they were brought into the full Christian position.
E. Dennett,
The Christian Friend, 15:49