Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 20:22

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Holy Spirit;   Jesus, the Christ;   Trinity;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dead, the;   Mortality-Immortality;   Resurrection;   The Topic Concordance - Sending and Those Sent;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Apostles, the;   Gift of the Holy Spirit, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Kingdom of Heaven;   Thomas;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Forgiveness;   Holy spirit;   Remnant;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Adam, the Second;   Apostle;   Baptism of the Holy Spirit;   Great Commission, the;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Resurrection of Christ;   Sabbath;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Apostle;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baptism of Fire;   Breath;   Church;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   John, the Gospel of;   Keys of the Kingdom;   Logos;   Lord's Day;   Mission(s);   Ordination, Ordain;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Atonement;   Inspiration;   John, Gospel of;   Thomas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Authority in Religion;   Body (2);   Character;   Church (2);   Commission;   Communion (2);   Discipline;   Discourse;   Doctrines;   Example;   Gestures;   Holiness;   Holy Spirit;   Holy Spirit (2);   Lord's Supper (Ii);   Manuscripts;   Ordination;   Personality;   Pharisees (2);   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Spirit ;   Union;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Forgiveness;   Thomas ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Breath;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Holy;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Loose;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Episcopalians;   Holy Ghost;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Twelve Apostles, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism of the Holy Spirit;   Body, Spiritual;   Breath;   Holy Spirit;   Johannine Theology, the;   Ordain;   Papyrus;   Peter, the First Epistle of;   Text and Manuscripts of the New Testament;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Apostle;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Holy Spirit;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He breathed on them - Intimating, by this, that they were to be made new men, in order to be properly qualified for the work to which he had called them; for in this breathing he evidently alluded to the first creation of man, when God breathed into him the breath of lives, and he became a living soul: the breath or Spirit of God (אלהים רוח ruach Elohim ) being the grand principle and cause of his spiritual and Divine life.

Receive ye the Holy Ghost - From this act of our Lord, the influences of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men have been termed his inspiration; from in, into, and spiro, I breathe. Every word of Christ which is received in the heart by faith comes accompanied by this Divine breathing; and, without this, there is neither light nor life. Just as Adam was before God breathed the quickening spirit into him, so is every human soul till it receives this inspiration. Nothing is seen, known, discerned, or felt of God, but through this. To every private Christian this is essentially requisite; and no man ever did or ever can preach the Gospel of God, so as to convince and convert sinners, without it. "There are many (says pious Quesnel) who extol the dignity of the apostolic mission, and compare that of bishops and pastors with that of Christ; but with what shame and fear ought they to be filled, if they do but compare the life and deportment of Christ with the lives and conversation of those who glory in being made partakers of his mission. They may depend on it that, if sent at all, they are only sent on the same conditions, and for the same end, namely - to preach the truth, and to establish the kingdom of God, by opposing the corruption of the world; and by acting and suffering to the end, for the advancement of the glory of God. That person is no other than a monster in the Church who, by his sacred office, should be a dispenser of the Spirit, and who, by the corruption of his own heart, and by a disorderly, worldly, voluptuous, and scandalous life, is, at the same time, a member and instrument of the devil."

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 20:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He breathed on them - It was customary for the prophets to use some significant act to represent the nature of their message. See Genesis 2:7. The word rendered “spirit” in the Scriptures denotes wind, air, breath, as well as Spirit. Hence, the operations of the Holy Spirit are compared to the wind, John 3:8; Acts 2:2.

Receive ye the Holy Ghost - His breathing on them was a certain sign or pledge that they would be endowed with the influences of the Holy Spirit. Compare Acts 1:4; John 2.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-20.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had promised the apostles that after he went away he would send the Spirit, hence his action here (John 16:7ff). Windisch said, "It is impossible to see in John 20:22ff the fulfillment of the Paraclete prophecies";[10] but, of course, it is impossible not to see it. Windisch's argument is that in the Paraclete sayings the Spirit was to be sent by the ascended one "from heaven" and not from on earth as here! The stupendous error of such an argument is that it views the sending of God's Spirit as a one-shot operation comparable to a president's sending an ambassador. Such is not the case at all. God's (and Christ's) sending of the Holy Spirit is a continuous thing, being done constantly in all generations, and to benefit each new recipient of salvation. As so many unspiritual writers do, Windisch incorporated elements invariably present in the sending of a mortal man with the promise of sending the Spirit, a far different thing. Jesus' appearance in this verse as conveyor of the Spirit is no contradiction of the fact that Jesus sends the Spirit from heaven, as on Pentecost. Furthermore, even in this verse, the Spirit came from both God and Christ who are one (this is the essential fact missing in Windisch), there being thus no possible denial of the Spirit's coming, even here, from heaven.

ENDNOTE:

[10] Hans Windisch. The Spirit-Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968), p. 33.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when he had said this,.... That is, declared he sent them forth in like manner as his Father sent him:

he breathed on them; in allusion to God's breathing the breath of life into man, at his creation; or rather, to the Spirit himself, who is the breath of God, and proceeds from him, as from the Father; and who breathes both upon persons in regeneration, and in qualifying for ministerial service, at the instance and influence of Christ: and such an opinion the Jews have of the Spirit of the Messiah, who sayF16Targum in 2Chron. xxxiii. 13. , that

"the Spirit went from between the wings of the cherubim, ונשביה, "and breathed upon him" (Menasseh) by the decree, or order of the word of the Lord.'

And saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost; meaning not the grace of the Holy Ghost in regeneration, which they had received already; but the gifts of the Spirit, to qualify them for the work he now sent them to do, and which were not now actually bestowed; but this breathing on them, and the words that attended it, were a symbol, pledge, and confirmation, of what they were to receive on the day of Pentecost: hence it appears, that it is the Spirit of God, who, by his gifts and grace, makes and qualifies men to be ministers of the Gospel; and our Lord by this action, and these words, gives a very considerable proof of his deity: the Papists show their impudence and wickedness, in imitating Christ by their insufflations, or breathing on men; pretending thereby to convey the Holy Spirit to them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 20:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-20.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he breathed on them — a symbolical conveyance to them of the Spirit.

and saith, Receive ye the Holy Ghost — an earnest and first-fruits of the more copious Pentecostal effusion.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-20.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He breathed on them (ενεπυσησενenephusēsen). First aorist active indicative of εμπυσαωemphusaō late verb, here only in N.T. though eleven times in the lxx and in the papyri. It was a symbolic art with the same word used in the lxx when God breathed the breath of life upon Adam (Gen 2:7). It occurs also in Ezek 37:9. See Christ‘s promise in John 16:23. Jesus gives the disciples a foretaste of the great pentecost.

Receive ye the Holy Ghost (λαβετε πνευμα αγιονlabete pneuma hagion). Second aorist (ingressive) active imperative of λαμβανωlambanō Note absence of article here (πνευμα αγιονpneuma hagion) though το πνευμα το αγιονto pneuma to hagion in John 14:26. No real distinction is to be observed, for Holy Spirit is treated as a proper name with or without the article.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Breathed on them ( ἐνεφύσησεν )

Only here in the New Testament. The act was symbolic, after the manner of the Hebrew prophets. Compare Ezekiel 37:5.

The Holy Ghost

The article is wanting. The gift bestowed was not that of the personal Holy Spirit, but rather an earnest of that gift; an effusion of the Spirit.

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The text of this work is public domain.
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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

He breathed on them — New life and vigour, and saith, as ye receive this breath out of my mouth, so receive ye the Spirit out of my fulness: the Holy Ghost influencing you in a peculiar manner, to fit you for your great embassy. This was an earnest of pentecost.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 20:22". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-20.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them1, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:

  1. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them,
  2. Receive ye the Holy Spirit. As the New Testament is now sealed in his blood according to the commission under which he came, he, in turn, commissions the twelve to go forth and proclaim its provisions. Symbolic of the baptism which they were to receive at Pentecost, he breathes upon them.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 20:22". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-20.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Дунул. Поскольку никто из смертных не способен на такое сложное поручение, Христос снабжает апостолов благодатью Своего Духа. Действительно, управлять Церковью, возвещать о вечном спасении, созидать Царство Божие на земле, возносить людей на небеса – непосильное для человека дело. Посему не удивительно, если никто не будет пригоден к этому без дарования Духа. Ведь никто не может сказать о Христе и одного слова, если его устами не будет править Святой Дух (1Кор. 12:3). Тем более, никто не может добросовестно и от сердца исполнять абсолютно все части этого служения. Кроме того, эта слава Христова относится лишь к тем, кого Он поставил главными учителями Церкви. Ведь полнота Духа излилась на Него с тем, чтобы каждому сообщить некоторую ее часть. И, оставаясь единственным Пастырем Церкви, Он должен являть в служителях силу Своего Духа, что и засвидетельствовал особым символом, дунув на апостолов. Но это не соответствовало бы действительности, если бы от Него не исходил Дух.

Тем более презренно святотатство папистов, похищающих честь, принадлежащую Сыну Божию. Ибо их «рогатые« епископы претендуют на то, что при поставлении священнодействователей изрыгают Святой Дух. Но сама жизнь показывает, насколько их зловонное дыхание отличается от божественного дуновения Христова. Они по сути из ослов пытаются сделать коней. Добавь к этому, что Христос не только сообщает принятый Им Дух ученикам, но и дает Его как Свой Собственный, а именно – Дух, имеемый Им сообща с Отцом. Посему те, кто утверждает, что сообщает Дух через дуновение, присваивают себе божескую славу.

Следует отметить: Христос снабдил необходимыми дарами тех, кого призвал к пастырскому служению, дабы они были способны исполнить свой долг, или, по крайней мере, приступить к этому не с голыми руками. Если же это истинно, весьма просто опровергнуть пустое притязание папистов, которые, превознося собственную иерархию, не могут показать даже малую искорку Духа в своих епископах. Он хотят, чтобы мы верили, что они являются законными пастырями Церкви, даже апостолами и наместниками Христа, хотя совершенно ясно: в них полностью отсутствует благодать Духа. Однако здесь нам предписывается твердое правило – оценивать призвание тех, кто предстоятельствует в Церкви Божией. Мы должны видеть, одарены ли они Святым Духом.

В особенности Христос хотел утвердить достоинство апостольского сословия. Было справедливо, чтобы авторитет тех, кто первым избран для проповеди Евангелия, отличался каким-то особым качеством. Однако, если тогда Христос дал апостолам Духа через дуновение, будущее сошествие Того же Духа кажется излишним. Отвечаю: тогда Дух был дан апостолам, чтобы они только окропились Его благодатью, а не получили Его полноту. Ибо совершенно обновились они лишь тогда, когда Дух явился в виде языков огненных и почил на каждом из них. А тогда Христос поставил их вестниками Евангелия не для того, чтобы тут же послать на дело. Скорее, как сказано в другом месте, Он приказал им на время оставаться в покое (Лк.24:49). Если тщательно все взвесить, Христос не столько снабдил их тогда необходимыми дарами, сколько назначил будущими орудиями Своего Духа. Посему Его дуновение прежде всего следует относить к тому величественному посланию Духа, которое Он столько раз им обещал.

Далее, Христос мог сообщить благодать апостолам и тайным образом, но захотел добавить видимое дуновение для их поддержки. Этот символ Христос использовал, следуя обычаю Писания, часто сравнивающему Дух с ветром. Это подобие кратко объяснено выше, в третьей главе. Но пусть читатели отметят: с внешним и видимым символом соединяется Слово. Ведь от него заимствуют силу и церковные таинства. Не потому, что действенность Духа заключена в речи, звучащей в ушах, но потому, что от свидетельства Слова зависит действенность всего того, что верующие получают от таинств. Христос дует на апостолов, но они получают не только дуновение, но и Дух. Почему же? Потому что Христос обещал Его им. Так же и в крещении мы облекаемся во Христа, омываемся Его кровью, распинаем в себе ветхого человека, дабы в нас царствовала праведность Божия. Во время же святой вечери мы духовно насыщаемся плотью и кровью Христа. Откуда же у таинств такая сила? Только от Христова обетования, Который Духом Своим дает то, о чем свидетельствует Слово. Итак, будем знать: все выдуманные людьми таинства есть не что иное, как насмешка и глупая игра. Ибо за символами не может стоять истина, если нет Слова Господня. Поскольку же нельзя насмехаться над святынями без оскорбления Бога и опасности для души, надо с большим тщанием обходить эти козни сатаны.

Если кто возразит, что папские епископы не грешат, когда дуновением поставляют своих священнодействователей, ибо здесь символ также соединен со Словом Христовым, ответ готов: Христос говорил апостолам не для того, чтобы установить в Церкви постоянное таинство. Он лишь однажды восхотел засвидетельствовать то, о чем мы говорили выше. Дух исходит от Него, а не от кого-то другого. Кроме того, Он никогда не давал поручений, не снабдив одновременно служителей силой и способностью. Я уже не говорю о том, что в папстве жрецы поставляются совсем для другой, даже противоположной, цели: для того, чтобы ежедневно приносить в жертву Христа. В то время как апостолы поставлены для того, чтобы мечом Евангелия приносить в жертву людей. Кроме того, следует верить: только Христос дает то, что обозначают и обещают внешние символы. Так что, не от внешнего дуновения, а от Себя Самого велит Он апостолам принять Духа Святого.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-20.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 22. The endowment in view of this sending.—As there is properly only one mission, there is also only one force for fulfilling it—that of Jesus, which He communicates through His Spirit.

The words: Having said this, serve, like John 20:20, to connect the following act with the preceding words. There are two extreme opinions as to the value of the act described in this verse. According to Baur, Hilgenfeld and Keim, the evangelist transfers to this day Pentecost as well as the ascension (John 20:17). But the: I ascend of John 20:17 could not have been accomplished in the course of this day; for John 20:20 proves that Jesus did not yet have His glorified body. But it is from the Father that He is to send the Spirit (John 7:39, John 16:7). Moreover, the absence of the article before πνεῦμα ἅγιον, Holy Spirit, shows that the question here is not yet of the sending of the Paraclete promised in chs. 14-16. Hence others— Chrysostom, Grotius, Tholuck —have concluded that there was a purely symbolic act here, a sensible pledge of the future sending of the Spirit. But this sense is incompatible with the imperative λάβετε, receive! You shall receive would be necessary. This expression implies a present communication. The question here is neither of a simple promise nor of the full outpouring of the Spirit. Raised Himself to a stage of higher life, Jesus raises them, as far as He can do so, to His new position. He associates them in His state as raised from the dead, just as later, through Pentecost, He will make them participate in His state as one glorified. He communicates to them the peace of adoption and the understanding of the Scriptures (Luke 24:45); He puts their will in unison with His own, that they may be prepared for the common work (John 20:21).

Some commentators— Reuss, for example—see here an allusion to Genesis 2:7 : "The Lord breathed into the nostrils (of man) a breath of life." But the thought of Jesus seems to me to refer rather to the future than to the past. This preparatory communication will necessarily make them understand, when the wind of the Spirit shall blow, that this wind is nothing else than the personal breath of their invisible Master.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-20.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Ver. 22. He breathed on them, and saith, &c.] Otherwise, who had been sufficient for these things? The ministry is a burden to be trembled at by the angels themselves, saith Chrysostom. {a} Father Latimer, when at the coming in of the six articles, he, to keep a good conscience, resigned up his bishopric, putting off his rochet, he suddenly, gave a skip in the floor for joy, feeling his shoulders so light, and being discharged, as he said, of such a heavy burden. Now the Spirit where he is bestowed by Christ, heaves at one end (as St Paul’s word imports) and takes off the brunt of the business from us. He oils our wheels, and makes us drive merrily. He helps our infirmities, (Romans 8:26; αντιλαμβανεσθαι, Est manus proprium, So said Galenus) edgeth our spirits, steeleth our laces, filleth us with matter, furnisheth us with words, doth all our work for us. When I first came into this city (said Calvin, upon his death bed, in his speech to his fellow ministers) I found all out of frame, and met with many malicious opposites. But our Lord Christ so settled and strengthened me, who by nature (to speak truth) am easily daunted, ut nullis illorum conatibus cesserim, that I stoutly withstood them.

{a} Onus ipsis etiam Angelis tremendum.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 20:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-20.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

22.] To understand this verse as the outpouring of the Spirit, the fulfilment of the promise of the Comforter, is against all consistency, and most against John himself: see ch. John 16:7, and ch. John 7:39. To understand it rightly, we have merely to recur to that great key to the meaning of so many dark passages of Scripture, the manifold and gradual unfolding of promise and prophecy in their fulfilment. The presence of the Lord among them now was a slight and temporary fulfilment of His promise of returning to them; and so the imparting of the Spirit now, was a symbol and foretaste of that which they should receive at Pentecost:—just as, to mount a step higher, that itself, in its present abiding with us, is but the first-fruits and pledge (Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 1:22) of the fulness which we shall hereafter inherit. “The relation of this saying to the effusion of the Spirit is the same which chap. 3 bears to Baptism, chap. 6 to the Lord’s Supper, chap. John 17:1 to the Ascension, &c.” (Luthardt.) Further: this giving of the Spirit was not the Spirit’s personal imparting of Himself to them, but only a partial instilling of His influence. He proceeds forth in His work (as in His essence) from the Father and the Son: this breathing of His influence was an imparting of Him from the Son in His risen Body, but that Body had not yet been received up, without which union of the God-manhood of the Son to the glory of the Father the Holy Spirit would not come.

What was now conferred is plain from our John 20:23—by which authority to discern spirits and pronounce on them is re-assured (see Matthew 18:18)—and from Luke 24:45, by which a discerning of the mind of the Spirit is given to them. We find instances of both these gifts being exercised by Peter in Acts 1, in his assertion of the sense of Scripture, and his judgment of Judas. Both these however were only temporary and imperfect.

That no formal gifts of Apostleship were now formally conferred, is plain by the absence of Thomas, who in that case would be no apostle in the same sense in which the rest were.

ἐνεφύσησεν (see reff.) was the word expressing the act of God in the original infusion of the spirit of life into man. This act is now by God incarnate repeated, sacramentally (see λάβετε, Matthew 26:26 (256)), representing the infusion of the new life, of which He is become by His glorified Humanity the source to his members: see Job 33:4; Psalms 33:6; 1 Corinthians 15:45.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 20:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-20.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 20:22. καὶ) and forthwith.— ἐνεφύσησε, He breathed upon them) infusing into them a new vigour of life. This was more removed from them, than had he kissed them, and yet it was altogether efficacious. After His resurrection He did not touch mortals, although He allowed His disciples to handle His person. So Ezekiel 37:9, ἐλθὲ τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ ἐμφύσησον εἰς τοὺς νεκροὺς τούτους, καὶ ζησάτωσαν, “Come thou breath, and breathe upon these dead, and let them live.— καὶ λέγει, and He saith) Even as ye receive the breath (afflatus) from My mouth, saith He, so from My fulness, receive ye the Holy Spirit. [Which no doubt they had had previously: but which they received afterwards in larger measure. The breathing upon them in this place stands midway between both bestowals of the Spirit.—V. g.]— πνεῦμα ἅγιον, the Holy Spirit) under Whose guidance ye may discharge the duties of your mission: Acts 13:9, “Saul (who also is Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost.” This was an earnest of Pentecost.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 20:22". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The apostles could not but be apprehensive how great a work their Lord had laid upon them, in sending them as his Father had sent him, to carry the gospel over the world; Who (said Paul afterward) is sufficient for these things? Our Lord therefore fortifies them with an earnest of that more plentiful effusion of the Spirit, which they afterward received in the days of Pentecost. They before this had received the Spirit as a Spirit of sanctification, and had received a power to work miracles. They did not till after this receive the gift of tongues, &c. But he here assures them of the presence of the Holy Spirit with them, in their more ordinary ministry, in instructing and governing the church. This conferring of the Spirit upon them he confirms to them by breathing, as an exterior sign or symbol. The name, Spirit, signifieth a breath; and it is said, that in the creation God breathed into Adam the breath of life. Christ breatheth into his apostles the Holy Spirit; thereby showing, that the Holy Spirit proceedeth, as from the Father, so also from him; as the breath of a man proceedeth from him. He also useth words, expounding his action in breathing, and carrying with them an authority, which being once spoken, the thing was done.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 20:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-20.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Поскольку ученики на самом деле не получили Духа Святого до дня Пятидесятницы (примерно 40 дней) (Деян. 1:8; 2:1-3), то это утверждение надо понимать как обещание со стороны Иисуса, что придет Дух Святой.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 20:22". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-20.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Receive ye the Holy Ghost; this was to fit them for their work. Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, will furnish his ministers for the discharge of all the duties to which he calls them; and they may at all times with affectionate confidence look to him for all needed aid.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22.Receive ye the Holy Ghost—This was not that full bestowment of the Holy Spirit, which was received at the Pentecost, by which miraculous powers were conferred for the government of the Church after the departure of Jesus.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-20.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And when He had said this He breathed on them, and says to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

Jesus now in a very real act of power endues the Apostles with the Holy Spirit. It is a travesty to suggest that this incident was merely symbolic. John mentions no other and sees this as the moment of enduing. In his eyes it explained all that lay in the future. We note the close connection between breathing and the reception of the Holy Spirit. The receiving of the Holy Spirit is the reception of God-given life. But here the emphasis is on the fact that they receive this from Jesus.

Note On The Receiving Of The Holy Spirit.

There are no grounds for doubting that this was a genuine enduing with the Spirit before Pentecost. John mentions no other, and only Luke in fact mentions Pentecost (Acts 2). In Matthew what empowers is the presence of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). Pentecost was more an outward manifestation to the world of the fact that the great outpouring of the Spirit had come, although it was certainly a further enduing with power for future ministry (Acts 1:8). We would not take away any of Pentecost’s importance. But Matthew speaks of Jesus as giving them His authority and being personally with them always (Matthew 28:19-20), and assumes that is enough, while the Marcan ending describes it in terms of Him commissioning them (Mark 16:15-20) followed by evidences of the power that He was giving them. Neither assume a knowledge of Acts or mention Pentecost and Mark was certainly written before Acts was known of. The stress is on the reception of power from Jesus.

Here the gift was made personally to His disciples, and in some ways was an even greater gift than Pentecost for it ‘opened their minds to understand the Scriptures’. It guaranteed them as the source of full truth (John 16:13). At Pentecost the gift was to the wider church and was more about empowerment for the future ministry (Acts 1:8). But here it was His very life-giving, empowering breath which entered them and they ‘received the Holy Spirit’ in the fullest sense of the word as described in John 7:39. They were by this endued with special wisdom in fulfilment of the promises of chapters 14-16 ( compare in Luke 24:45, ‘then opened He their mind that they might understand the Scriptures’, which confirms an earlier enduing to Pentecost). From now on they were different men and spent much time in the Temple blessing God (Luke 24:53). Indeed a separate experience was later clearly necessary, for none but the disciples experienced this uniquely special blessing.

Are we to see this as indicating that they have not previously experienced the power of the Holy Spirit? Of course not. They had cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus, and Jesus Himself had said that these were cast out by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28). This working of the Spirit was one evidence of God’s Kingly Rule now present on earth. They had also previously been promised that God would give the Holy Spirit to those who asked Him (Luke 11:13), something clearly available at that time. They thus knew that His powerful working was then available to them. When Jesus sent out His Apostles to preach during His lifetime He had assured them that if they were brought up for questioning ‘the Spirit of His Father’ would be their enabling when they made their reply (Matthew 10:20). Jesus’ words to Nicodemus made clear that all who were His true followers had already been born anew of the Spirit of God (John 3:1-6). And so we could go on. So what Jesus was bestowing on them here was the Holy Spirit for a special purpose, for the fulfilling of their unique role as Apostles..

The action of Jesus in breathing on them could hardly fail to bring to mind the way that God breathed into man the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) (also brought out by the use of pnoe (‘breath’) at Pentecost). That was the moment when man entered into possession of the old creation, this was the moment when the foundational new men entered into possession of the new creation. Jesus was in effect saying “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

It was not the moment of their new birth. That had from the first been as necessary for them as for Nicodemus (John 3:6). Nor was it their first experience of the Spirit’s power, for they had cast out evil spirits and healed with ‘power’ given to them by Jesus (Matthew 10:1 with John 12:28), preaching on His authority (Luke 9:1-2), and had had available for them the Spirit’s help (Luke 12:11-12; Matthew 10:20 - we have no reason to doubt that this applied to problems they faced in their ministry at that time). Rather it was the special empowering of the foundation members of the new people of God, their special empowering for the task to which they were now set aside, and the special and unique illuminating of the Apostles.

End of note.

“Receive the Holy Spirit.” Nothing could be plainer. At this moment they ‘received’ the promised Holy Spirit. Compare John 7:37-39. There in John 7:39 they had been told that they would soon ‘receive’ the Holy Spirit, He Who would flow through them like rivers of living water. Here, using the same word ‘receive’ was now the fulfilment of that promise, the reception of that wonderful blessing of the outpoured Holy Spirit. Others would have to wait until Pentecost (Luke 24:4-9 probably has the wider group of disciples in mind), but this was the firstfruits and the disciples received Him there and then directly from the risen Jesus. He proceeded from the Son. But they too would receive further enduings as they needed them, and have a major role at Pentecost.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-20.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

These disciples needed supernatural spiritual power to carry out such a task, but what did Jesus really do next? There are several views.

One view is that Jesus gave these disciples a temporary infusion of His Spirit. [Note: Blum, p343; cf. Calvin, 2:205; Morris, pp747-48.] The act of breathing on them recalls the Creation in which God breathed His life into Adam ( Genesis 2:7). Thus Jesus may have been suggesting that He was doing a new creative work by filling these men with His Spirit. Later Jesus explained that the Spirit would come upon these disciples again ( Acts 1:8). This present act of Jesus then may have represented a preliminary and temporary enabling that helped the disciples understand what they could expect more fully and permanently later. That baptizing came on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 1:5; Acts 2:4; Acts 11:15).

Some problems with this view are as follows. Two bestowals of the Spirit seem unusual in view of Jesus" earlier promises to send the Spirit (chs14-16) and the importance in Acts of the Spirit"s coming at Pentecost ( Acts 1:5; Acts 2:4; Acts 11:15). Also there is no indication that this temporary infusion with the Spirit had any effect on the disciples. Furthermore there is no evidence that when Thomas returned to the scene Jesus gave him the Spirit as one would expect if the Spirit"s presence was essential for the disciples then ( John 20:26-29).

Many readers of the Greek text have noted that "Holy Spirit" (Gr. pneuma hagion) does not have a definite article preceding it. This has led some of them to conclude that the Holy Spirit is not in view, but the breath (Gr. pneuma) of God is. They take this breath of God to be symbolic of God"s gift of spiritual power in an impersonal sense. [Note: G. Johnston, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John, p11.] However, John earlier referred to the personal Holy Spirit without the article ( John 7:39). That seems to be his meaning here as well. The absence of an article before a noun often has the effect of stressing the quality of the noun. In this case that would be the holiness of the Spirit.

Some modern scholars view this verse as John"s account of Pentecost. [Note: E.g, Barrett, The Gospel ..., p570; and Beasley-Murray, pp380-82.] However this view does not take the chronological sequence of events that these books present seriously. Clearly the occasion that John described here and the events of the day of Pentecost were different.

Still others believe that Jesus was giving these disciples a symbolic and graphic reminder of the Spirit who would come upon them later. It was a demonstration of what Jesus would do when He returned to the Father and which He did do on Pentecost. He was not imparting the Spirit to them in any sense here. [Note: E.g, Harris, p201; Tenney, " John," p193; Carson, The Gospel . . ., pp651-55; idem, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspectives in Tension, pp140-44.] This interpretation accounts for Thomas not receiving the Spirit before Pentecost. It also explains why this event had no changing effect on the disciples. Evidently there was only one coming of the Spirit on these disciples, and that happened on Pentecost. This view seems to me to be more defensible, and I prefer it.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 20:22. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Not only did the Risen Lord thus send His disciples on their mission to the world, He gave them also the preparation which should enable them to fulfill their trust. The literal and correct rendering of the original Greek is not ‘Receive the Holy Spirit,’ but ‘Receive Holy Spirit;’ the difference being, as was pointed out on chap. John 7:39, that by the latter expression we are to understand not the personal Holy Ghost, but His power or influence over the hearts of men. It was in the power of Holy Spirit that Jesus had entered upon His own ministry (Luke 4:1, where the same expression is used as here); with the like preparation shall His Church enter upon the work to which she is called. The gift now bestowed is, therefore, not simply symbolical but real: at that moment the Spirit was given. All this is in perfect harmony with the words of chap. John 7:39, because at this moment the glorification of Jesus has begun (see note on John 20:17). The gift, too, was imparted not to apostles only, but to all the disciples present; it is a gift not for the ministry alone, but for the whole Church of Christ. If so, the interesting question immediately arises, What is the relation of the gift spoken of here to that bestowed at Pentecost? The answer would seem to be that here the gift relates to the inner life of the disciples, there to the more outward equipment for their work; here to the enlightenment and quickening of their own souls, there to preparation for producing an effect on others. Perhaps we may seek an illustration (to be applied, as always, with reserve) from the life of the Saviour Himself. As His public ministry began when the Holy Spirit descended on Him at His baptism, so did His apostles receive their full commission and power on the day of Pentecost. But as before His baptism the Holy Spirit had rested on Him continually, so now, before Pentecost, the same holy influence is bestowed on His disciples, preparing them for the day of final consecration to their work. It has, indeed, often been maintained that we have before us a promise and not a present gift. But such cannot be the meaning of the language which is here used. Even were it granted that the word ‘Receive’ might be understood as an assurance of a future gift, the action which accompanies the word must imply much more than this. ‘He breathed on them:’ this surely was the outward symbol of an actual impartation—of His breathing into them (see Genesis 2:7, where the same word is used) the power and influence of which He spoke. And yet it is true that this gift was both present (actual) and also future (a promise). As present, it brought with it the quickening of spiritual life; as future, it included in itself all that Pentecost gave. The former thought is important in relation to the development of the disciples: the latter in its connection with John 20:23, and especially in its presentation of the Redeemer as Himself the Giver of the Holy Spirit (chap. John 16:26).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-20.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Receive ye the Holy Ghost. It was said, (John vii. 39.) that the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not glorified. The sense must need be, that the holy Spirit was not given in that solemn manner, nor with so large an effusion of spiritual gifts and graces, till the day of Pentecost, after Christ's ascension: but the just, at all times, from the beginning of the world, were sanctified by the grace of the Holy Ghost, as no doubt the apostles were, before this time. Now at this present, he gave them the power of forgiving sins. (Witham) --- Some say, that our Saviour did not then confer the Holy Ghost on his disciples, but only prepared them for the receiving of the Holy Ghost. But surely we may understand, that even then they received some portion of spiritual grace, the power, not indeed of raising the dead, and working other miracles, but of forgiving sins. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxv. in Joan.) --- St. Cyril of Alexandria, speaking of the remission of sins, promised in this text, asks, "How then, or why, did Christ impart to his disciples a power, which belongs to the divine Spirit, should likewise possess the power of forgiving sins, and of retaining such as they judged expedient; that Holy Spirit, according to his good pleasure, forgiving and retaining, through the ministry of men." (In Joan. lib. xii. chap. 1.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 20:22". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

breathed on. Greek. emphusao. Only here in N.T., but used in the Septuagint in Genesis 2:7 for the Hebrew word naphah, to breathe, or blow with force. The same Lord who, as Jehovah Elohim, breathed into Adam"s nostrils the breath of life so that he became a living soul, here breathes upon the apostles that they may receive Divine power. Satan tries to parody the Lord"s words and works. In the "Great" Magical Papyrus of about the third century A.D. occurs the following in a spell for driving out a demon: "When thou adjurest, blow (phusa), sending the breath from above [to the feet], and from the feet to the face". Deissmann, Fresh Light, p. 260.

the Holy Ghost. Greek. pneuma hagion (no art.): i.e. power from on high. See App-101. The Firstfruits of the resurrection here bestows the firstfruits of the Spirit, not only on the apostles, but on "them that were with them" (Luke 24:33, and compare Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 20:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them - a symbolical and expressive conveyance to them of the Spirit, which in Scripture is so often compared to breath (see the note at John 3:8);

And saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit - as an earnest and first-fruits of the more grand and copious Pentecostal effusion, without which it had been vain to send them at all.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-20.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
he breathed
Genesis 2:7; Job 33:4; Psalms 33:6; Ezekiel 37:9
Receive
14:16; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 2:4,38; 4:8; 8:15; 10:47; 19:2; Galatians 3:2
Reciprocal: Isaiah 48:16 - the Lord God;  Ezekiel 2:3 - I send;  Ezekiel 37:5 - I will;  Malachi 2:15 - the spirit;  Luke 5:24 - power;  John 14:26 - Holy Ghost;  Acts 1:4 - the promise;  Revelation 3:1 - he that

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 20:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-20.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 22. "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost."

The breathing here stands in relation to Genesis 2:7, where Jehovah breathes into the first man the breath of life, and thus man becomes a living soul: Sept. καὶ ἐνεφύσησεν. By this allusion our Lord places Himself on a level with Jehovah Elohim, with Jehovah who there possessed the fulness of divinity. The same πνεῦμά ζῳοποιοῦν which there went forth from Jehovah Elohim, and produced in man the Divine image, proceeds here from Christ, in order to reinstate the Divine image, first in the Apostles, and then in those who should believe through their word, ch. John 17:20. The relation to Genesis 2:7, which speaks of an immediately effectual inbreathing, such as at once created a "living nature," shows that our Lord's act here was not of merely prophetic significance—that it did not simply pretypify what was to become a reality on the day of Pentecost. We are led to the same result by the present πέμπω in ver. 21, as well as by the nature of the case: it could not be otherwise than that their conviction of the truth of the Lord's resurrection should be a great turning-point in the life of the Apostles, and that with this crisis they would receive an advanced susceptibility, and a concurrent enlargement of the influence of the Spirit. What they now received was the preliminary and condition of what they were to receive at Pentecost; according to the Lord's word, "Unto him that hath it shall be given." The beginnings of the Holy Spirit were imparted according to the universal law of our Lord's operation, viz. to perform in prelude and earnest, while still upon earth, all that He would afterwards in heaven perform universally, even down to the resurrection of the dead, "in order," says Quesnel, "that we may know that He is the real ground of all, in His true humanity."

If the breathing was an actual impartation, how was it with Thomas, not present on this occasion? The answer is, that those who were present received in and with the breathing the Holy Ghost; but that the influence was not necessarily bound to the symbol which was its medium. The great essential was living faith in the resurrection. When Thomas uttered the words, "My Lord and my God," he also was made partaker of the Holy Ghost, or rather he must already have been partaker of the Holy Ghost, to utter the words at all: comp. 1 Corinthians 12:3. Had it not been for its profound and important relation to Genesis 2:7, Jesus would probably have altogether omitted the symbolical action. The essential factor was not the proper breathing, but the resurrection and faith in Him who rose.

We have here an interpenetration of personal grace and official grace; of such as was common to all believers and such as was peculiar to the Apostles, and, as represented by them, to all the bearers of ministerial office in the Church. That the former is not to be excluded, the relation of the act to Genesis 2:7 plainly shows: as there, so here also, the act was one which pertained to the human race. That the second is not to be excluded, is plain from the connection in which "Receive the Holy Ghost" here stands, on the one hand, to "I send you," ver. 21, and, on the other hand, to the remitting and retaining of sins in ver. 23. Such a combination of personal and official grace often occurs in the Old Testament: for example, in the case of Saul, 1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 16:14; and David, 1 Samuel 16:13. Quesnel: "The Christian receives the Holy Ghost only for himself; priests and bishops for others also. It is a frightful thing in the Church, to be in office a channel of the Holy Ghost, and an instrument of the wicked spirit through disorderly and carnal living."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 20:22". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-20.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

22.He breathed on them. Not one of the sons of men is qualified for discharging so difficult an office, and, therefore, Christ prepares the Apostles for it by the grace of his Spirit. And, indeed, to govern the Church of God, to carry the embassy of eternal salvation, to erect the kingdom of God on earth, and to raise men to heaven, is a task far beyond human capacity. We need not be astonished, therefore, that no man is found qualified unless he be inspired by the Holy Spirit; for no man can speak a word concerning Christ unless the Spirit guide his tongue, (1 Corinthians 12:3;) so far is it from being true that there is any man who is competent to discharge faithfully and honestly all the duties of so excellent an office. Again, it is the glory of Christ alone to form those whom he appoints to be teachers of his Church; for the reason why the fullness of the Spirit has been poured out upon him is, that he may bestow it upon each person according to a certain measure.

Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Though he continues to be the only Shepherd of his Church, he must necessarily display the power of his Spirit in the ministers whose agency he employs; and this also he testified by the outward symbol, when he breathed on the Apostles; for this would not be applicable, if the Spirit did not proceed from him. So much the more detestable is the sacrilege of the Papists, who seize and claim for themselves the honor which belongs to the Son of God, for their mitred bishops, when they make priests, have the effrontery to boast of breathing the Holy Spirit on them. But the fact plainly shows how different their stinking breath is from the Divine breathing of Christ; for what else is it that they do than to change horses into asses? Besides, not only does Christ communicate to his disciples the Spirit which he has received, but he bestows it as his own, as the Spirit which he has in common with the Father. Consequently, all those who boast of giving the Spirit by breathing lay claim to the glory of Divinity.

It ought to be observed, that those whom Christ calls to the pastoral office he likewise adorns with the necessary gifts, that they may be qualified for discharging the office, or, at least, may not come to it empty and unprovided. And if this be true, there is no difficulty in refuting the foolish boasting of the Papists, who, while they employ lofty terms of commendation in extolling their hierarchy, cannot show a single spark of the Holy Spirit in their bishops. They wish us to believe that they are the lawful pastors of the Church, and, in like manner, that they are the apostles and vicars of Christ, while it is evident that they are utterly destitute of the grace of the Holy Spirit. A sure criterion is here laid down for judging of the calling of those who govern the Church of God; and that criterion is, if we see that they have received the Holy Spirit

What Christ chiefly, however, intended by it was, to uphold the dignity of the rank of the Apostles; for it was reasonable that those, who had been chosen to be the earliest and most distinguished preachers of the Gospel, should possess uncommon authority. But if Christ, at that time, bestowed the Spirit on the Apostles by breathing, it may be thought that it was superfluous to send the Holy Spirit afterwards. I reply, the Spirit was given to the Apostles on this occasion in such a manner, that they were only sprinkled by his grace, but were not filled with full power; for, when the Spirit appeared on them in tongues of fire, (Acts 2:3,) they were entirely renewed. And, indeed, he did not appoint them to be heralds of his Gospel, so as to send them forth immediately to the work, but ordered them to take repose, as we read elsewhere,

Remain ye in the city of Jerusalem till ye are endued with power from on high,
(
Luke 24:49.)

And if we take all things properly into consideration, we shall conclude, not that he furnishes them with necessary gifts for present use, but that he appoints them to be the organs of his Spirit for the future; and, therefore, this breathing ought to be understood as referring chiefly to that magnificent act of sending the Spirit which he had so often promised.

Although Christ might have bestowed grace on his Apostles by a secret inspiration, he chose to add a visible breathing in order to confirm them more fully. Christ took this outward emblem from the ordinary manner of speaking in the Scriptures, which very frequently compare the Spirit to wind; a comparison which we briefly accounted for in the exposition of the Third Chapter of this Gospel (206) But let the reader observe, that with the visible and outward sign the word is also joined; for this is the source from which the sacraments derive their efficacy; not that the efficacy of the Holy Spirit is contained in the word which sounds in our ears, but because the effect of all those things which believers receive from the sacraments depends on the testimony of the word. Christ breathes on the Apostles: they receive not only the breathing, but also the Spirit. And why, but because Christ promises to them?

In like manner, in baptism we put on Christ, (Galatians 3:27,) we are washed by his blood, (Revelation 1:5,) our old man is crucified, (Romans 6:6,) in order that the righteousness of God may reign in us. In the Holy Supper we are spiritually fed with the flesh and blood of Christ. Whence do they derive so great efficacy but from the promise of Christ, who does and accomplishes by his Holy Spirit what he declares by his word? Let us therefore learn, that all the sacraments which men have contrived are nothing else than absolute mockeries or frivolous amusements, because the signs can have no truth unless they be accompanied by the word of the Lord. Now, since we never sport in this manner with sacred things, without wickedly pouring contempt on God and ruining souls, we ought to be most carefully on our guard against those stratagems of Satan.

If it be objected, that we ought not to blame the Popish bishops, when by breathing they consecrate their priests, because in those cases the word of Christ accompanies the sign, the answer is obvious. In the first place, Christ did not speak to the Apostles so as to appoint a perpetual sacrament in the Church, but intended to declare once what we said a little ago, that the Spirit proceeds from no other than from himself alone. Secondly, he never appoints men to an office without at the same time communicating strength to his ministers, and furnishing them with ability. I do not mention that in Popery the priests are ordained for a totally different, or rather a contrary purpose; namely, to murder Christ daily, while the disciples were made Apostles in order to slay men by the sword of the Gospel. Yet we ought also to believe that it is Christ alone who gives all the blessings which he represents and promises by outward signs; for he does not bid the Apostles receive the Holy Spirit from the outward breathing, but from himself.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 20:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-20.html. 1840-57.