Jesus makes an important announcement after His resurrection on Easter evening. He breathes on His disciples and says, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Jn. 20:19-22). The word “receive” here is a command in the form of an imperative verb. They must be empowered before they can fulfill His Great Commission to win the lost. The disciples are told to “preach repentance,” but first they are to receive the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:47). The followers of Christ are commanded to remain in Jerusalem until they are Spirit-filled (v. 49). Salvation is the greatest event in the life of a sinner, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the greatest event in the life of a saint.
Jesus expects His disciples to continue His work after His Ascension. But God does not give them this task without supplying the necessary power to do it. Even Jesus did not begin to minister until the Spirit came upon Him (Mt. 3:16). While Jesus is on earth in human form He can only be one place at one time. However, He promises another Comforter will come to abide with us, reside within us, and guide us (Jn. 14:16 & 16:13).
The meeting of Jesus with His disciples on Easter evening is a commission to all Believers. Jesus does not allow us to think we can be effective without the Holy Spirit. In Mark’s gospel Jesus promises those who evangelize the world will speak with new tongues (Mk. 16:17). His words are prophetic, for most effective missionary work is accomplished by Spirit-filled Christians. After Peter receives the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, his first message concerns soul winning (Acts 2:38).
We need the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives. The Comforter completely understands you, never makes a mistake, is gentle, is absolutely trustworthy, is always truthful, has no prejudices, never scolds, never forces you to act, interprets your dreams, discerns demonic activity around you, gives you strength, has no ulterior motives, and counsels with perfect advice.
In the context of receiving the Holy Spirit Jesus tells us to “Ask and receive that your joy may be full” (Jn. 16:7 & 24). On Easter Sunday when He breathes on the disciples and says “receive the Holy Spirit,” He breathes on each of us. The promise of the Spirit is Jesus’ final gift to Believers. This is the most essential, meaningful, practical, and personal gift He can give. It is the only gift we truly need to succeed.
Accept what the Lord has promised you. Ask Jesus personally about the Holy Spirit. Allow Spirit-filled Believers pray with you to receive the best gift of all.