But before this encounter we have what I believe is one of the most powerful exchanges between Jesus and the disciples in the entire New Testament! The disciples are cowering in fear after the death of their leader and suddenly Jesus appears among them and gives them his peace. The fear is dispelled and replaced with an overwhelming sense of joy and elation.
We today live as the disciples of the Risen Lord who is amongst us and the challenge facing us all both collectively and as individuals is to live with joy and not fear! Recall also the intimacy of Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit upon those gathered disciples. In contrast with the dramatic and spectacular appearance of the Holy Spirit in Acts at the festival of Pentecost, we have here Jesus ‘up close and personal’ with the disciples. Consider how close you need to be with someone to feel their breath upon your skin? Our relationship with the Risen Lord is as close and as personal as this story. May we all know the joy and elation of being disciples of the Risen Jesus who drives away all fear and is closer to us than our own breath.