John 20:19-31 (NRSV)
Verse 19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Verse 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Verse 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Verse 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Verse 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Verse 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Verse 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Verse 26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Verse 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Verse 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Verse 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Verse 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. Verse 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
“When it was evening on that day” refers to the time of day but also to the fact that the disciples are still in the darkness regarding Jesus’ resurrection. In spite of Mary’s witness to the empty tomb and her encounter with the risen Lord, the disciples do not believe. They remain locked up in a room for fear of the Jewish leaders. In the midst of their fears, Jesus arrives and pronounces upon them a greeting of peace. With the gift of peace, Jesus commissions the disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the Easter good news. The NRSV translates that Jesus breathed on the group and gave them the Holy Spirit. The Greek says that Jesus breathed into them which is the same word that was used in the creation of man. God breathed into the lump of clay and created life. Jesus is giving new life to his disciples, and they are sent out now with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, you give abundant life to us. May we share your good news with our world. Amen.