Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
In John’s gospel, Jesus himself breathes the Holy Spirit onto His disciples as He appears to them after His resurrection. This is also John’s account of the Great Commission, Jesus sending the disciples out as He was sent by God. Each of the four gospels tells the same truth of Jesus coming to us, but interpreted by their own experiences.
The most important parts of their witness are in complete agreement – Jesus came to show us God’s love and how to live in connection with Him. He called us to follow, loving God and each other, making sure everyone heard the Good News of salvation. All the other details about where He went, who He healed and the miracles He performed are just that – details.
Do they teach us about our relationship with God and each other? Certainly, but just because one person remembered one thing vividly and another heard something else they thought was important doesn’t make either account untrue, just differently inspired to reach different groups of people. When we read scripture we should learn from each writer what they found essential for their relationship with God and how it can teach us to better connect with God and each other.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of Your Son, who came to love and teach us, and for Scripture that guides and inspires us. Help us to keep the lessons we have been taught in our hearts and use them daily. Amen.