“Receive Ye the Holy Ghost!” Sunday School Lesson, John 20:19-23, March 22, 2015


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March 22, 2015

“Receive Ye the Holy Ghost!”

John 20:19-23

Uniform Series: “Receive the Holy Spirit”

 PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy!  Blessings.

(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)


“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.”  That was the promise that God spoke through the prophet Joel, (2:28).  Ezekiel 36:26 tells us, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you . . .”

God prophesies involved a part of Him (“my spirit”), coming to live on the inside (“within”) the heart of those that belong to Him.

How often had that been told to the Jewish people of old?  For generations His promise had permeated their culture and had been passed from mouth to mouth testifying of His great promise that He wants to move into the lives of His people.

This promise of an outpouring traveled with them through wars and disobedience; through times of favor and times of disappointments.  Exile even dispelled them from their land for a time but it could not dispel them from God’s promise.

In times before they experienced God’s power at work in many different ways.  Now, Jesus was ready to take things to another level in bringing His people closer to that pouring out promise; one that would bring about great power, wonders, and deliverances.  Jesus was ready to breathe on them a part of Him; moving upon and in His people the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

A lot has occurred between last week’s lesson and this week’s lesson.  In last week’s lesson Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure.  By the time we get to this week’s lesson the deed to crucify Jesus has transpired.  He had been scourged, thorned, spit on, nailed and pierced.  The earth shook; the body was wrapped and put in the grave and rose again.

Things would never be the same for His kingdom and ministry.  A new level of empowerment was on the horizon and Jesus was ready to place His stamp of approval on these men that would authorize them to work in His promise.

John 20:19 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Have you ever had someone sneak up on you?  I mean they just seemingly appear out of nowhere and startle the bejeebies out of you.  It’s a pretty unsettling feeling of being caught unawares.

Now imagine how the disciples who were “assembled” behind closed “doors” felt when they received the surprise of a lifetime; Jesus, their friend, their teacher, their Savior – He who days before had been killed and murdered at the insistence of the “Jews” now stood before them.

To say they were completely shocked doesn’t do it justice.  If it were me I would be completely freaked out.  Can I take your mind back for a moment when they were being tossed about in the midst of the sea and saw Jesus walking on water?  Their response: “They were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear,” (Matthew 14:26).

At that time they had no just cause to believe He was a spirit.  They went off the basis that it was the only logical reason that allowed Him to walk on water.

Here, they would have a very good reason to spaz, so to speak, a bit over His sighting.  Not only do they know for a fact that Jesus had been crucified, but they have heard reports that He is no longer in the tomb Joseph of Arimathea donated for the cause of His burial.

Certain women went to the tomb and pondered how they would roll the stone away only to arrive and find it had already been moved (see Luke 24:1-3; Matthew 28:1-2; Mark 16:1-4; John 20:1).  The news had spread to Peter and the rest.  Reports from the travelers on the road to Emmaus said, “The Lord is risen indeed . . .” (Luke 24:34).

Not only is He risen but He is standing before them speaking, “Peace be unto you.”  Though the speaking of a greeting of “peace” was customary among the people, Jesus spoke with the intent of calming the raging storm of emotions these men were dealing with.

When Jesus appeared them the Bible tells us, “they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit,” (Luke 24:37).  Jesus then asked them, “Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38).

So Jesus speaks “peace” to them.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  Jesus had to refocus their troubled thoughts to see the miracle that stood before them now.

Yes, they were in troubling times.  Yes, they were dealing with confusion and disappointment but Jesus had to calm the turmoil inside of them so that they could accept the great thing that was about to take place.  “When you realize that nothing happens apart from God’s awareness, direction, and loving purpose, it becomes possible to lay down worry and fear and truly experience His peace” – Charles Stanley (Quote Source: Everyday Devotional).

So, Jesus draws them to “peace.”

John 20:20 “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

“And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.”  He showed them proof!  Physical evidence that He had indeed risen was right in front of their faces.  Remember, according to Luke 24:37 they thought He was a spirit but Jesus showed them the evidence in His glorified flesh.  Later, He invited Thomas to, “Reach your fingers here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side . . .” (John 20:27, NKJV).

If you will allow me, just look at how many of their 5 senses were involved to establish that Jesus was alive in the flesh:

  • Seeing – they saw Jesus. To many we would assume that this would be enough but with fear running rampart they believed that He was a spirit.
  • Hearing – Jesus spoke and questioned them. Again, the mind’s eye of their panic what they were witnessing; what they were hearing could be attributed to a spirit.
  • Touching – This is where the real convincing begins. When one can physically feel the flesh; feel the bones underneath, it can’t get more real than that. Jesus wasn’t afraid to be closely examined by them. He urged them to get in there and feel the proof for themselves.
  • And if per chance you want to add smelling and taste (no they didn’t smell Jesus or taste Him J) but on the “third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead,” (John 21:14); Jesus invited them to “come and dine” with Him (John 21:12). The fire was going and the fish was frying. Yum! Smile, you want to!

Jesus, beyond a shadow of a doubt, showed with many evidences that He was in fact risen and alive.

“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”  When they really saw that this was in fact their risen Lord (minus the fish fry at this point), they were overjoyed.  Where they were feeling devastated and in deep despair, now they saw hope.  That’s something to get happy about.  When they got past the shock and really “saw the Lord” for who He is, their spirits were raised and they rejoiced.

Don’t let despair keep you from seeing Jesus.  Even when one is suffering and feeling the burden of this world pressing on them – Jesus is there.

John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

“Peace be unto you.”  Jesus again speaks “peace” to His gathered disciples; words repeated to bring comfort to the disciples confused hearts.  Yes, on the night of His arrest they fled and left Him on His own.  They abandoned Him but He has not forsaken them.

Now, He stands before them speaking “peace.”  Once Jesus speaks “peace” over you, don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.  One way the enemy will try to stop us is to keep us in a state of feeling like a failure; of feeling there’s no possible way Jesus can use us now.  We have messed up is what we claim and we can’t see beyond our own faults and shortcomings to do a mighty work for Him.

Their failures were not hidden from Jesus.  Do you know how I know?  He died on the cross alone and they fled just as He said they would.  He knew it ahead of time.  But, their job wasn’t to die on the cross.  And, despite their failures, Jesus still had a mission for them.  He said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” 

Sometimes we may feel too gone in our mess, but if you are here and alive today you still have purpose.  God can still use you to make a positive impact for His kingdom.  Stop focusing on the failures of yesterday!  Start focusing on the mission of today!  Jesus wants to “send” you!

The “Father” sent Jesus with a purpose; with a mission.  Now, Jesus says, “So send I you.”  In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus further defines their “sending;” their mission and their purpose.  He says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . .”

At other points during His earthly ministry Jesus sent the disciples out on mission trips, so to speak, to heal, set free, and preach the kingdom of heaven (see Mark 6:7; Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1).

Just because physically He won’t be with them anymore, they are to still be men on a mission.  Their lives are not to be filled with mindless idleness.  They have to work the purpose wherewith he “sends” them; as do we.

We are called to go out and get involved with His ministry and “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15).

What is Jesus calling you to do to help the kingdom of God?  Where is it He wants to “send” you?  Don’t ignore the call or cower in fear.  He will empower you with what you need to make a difference, as our next verse tells us.

John 20:22 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”

“He breathed on them.”  What is the significance of Jesus breathing on His disciples?  In both the Hebrew and Greek the word “breath” is the same word for “spirit.”  Jesus is the only one with the authority to impart the Spirit in such a way, for Matthew 28:18 tells us, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

“Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”  E.M. Bounds said, “What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men.  He does not come on machinery, but on men.  He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer,” (Quote Source: OChristian.com)

To that I say, “Well said, and AMEN!”

Jesus “breathed” on them; on His men to empower and anoint them.  Most believe this was just a partial filling; or for preparation; or a symbolic act to what would occur at Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4.  Regardless of what it represents here, Jesus was bestowing on them a great gift that would enable them work mightily for Him.  Without the Holy Spirit the task ahead would be fruitless and without power.

Zechariah 4:6 declares, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”  Man can try to operate in his own power but won’t have the effect for God’s kingdom Jesus did.  This mission has to be infused with power!

John 20:23 “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

The Gospel message they and us carry is powerful; it’s the Good News that Jesus saves.  Those who believe and accept this message and are saved can find joy in knowing they are forgiven; their “sins” are “remitted unto them.”

This was the climax of all Jesus sought to do on the cross: to save mankind from their sins; to restore them back to fellowship with God.  Those anointed, filled, and empowered by the “Holy Ghost” have the privilege to pass on this eternal life saving message.  They have no power of their own to forgive sins, but they can open up the word of life and lead them to the One who can.

At the same time, those who refuse will “retain” their “sins.”  If they refuse to let Jesus wash away the impurities of this world that stains their soul, it will remain with them into all eternity.

Despite popular belief, there are NOT many roads to heaven.  Jesus very clearly stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” (John 14:6).

I cannot over emphasize those two words “NO ONE!”  That means no exceptions.  That means no matter how good one things they are, if they have not gone through Jesus; if He has not cleansed them from their sins, they will not walk those dirty feet on His heavenly streets.

The disciples, as well as we, are empowered with the Holy Spirit to get that message across.


We need to be empowered with His Spirit to do His work!

(Click here for PDF: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below.  Enjoy!)

Below are activities to support this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

Word Search: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Word Search  Answers: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Word Search Answers

Crossword: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Crossword  Answers: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Word Scramble  Answers: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost Draw the Scene

How Many Words?: Receive Ye the Holy Ghost How Many Words (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)

Receive Ye the Holy Ghost How Many Words-001

“Breathing” Activities to support this week’s lesson.  All can be fun ways to bring out Jesus “breathed on them.  Enjoy!

“Blowing Tube Craft” (Simply roll up a piece of construction paper long ways and tape.  Cut the top and bottom off to make even.  Attach ribbon, tissue paper or I used cut up streamers and tape on the inside of your tube.  Some should be longer than the tube to help with blowing.  Decorate with crayons or stickers.  Enjoy!)




“Bubble Play”  Hit the dollar store or make homemade bubbles for students to demonstrate Jesus breathing. WHAT FUN!  Enjoy!

“Racing Pom Pom Balls” (USING pom poms, straws, and tape to mark the course, students can have a race to see who wins.  Lead into the lesson by saying the same Holy Ghost that Jesus breathed on His disciples we need to guide us through the course of this life.  Enjoy! BTW – I am so doing this with my class.  Click here for more instructions.

Below are more Activities/Resources/Links for this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!

“Jesus Appears to the Disciples” (Activities and fun pages that will support this lesson nicely.  Enjoy!)

“Jesus Appears to Thomas Coloring Sheet” (This coloring sheet is geared toward older students and pictures Jesus showing His disciples His hands where the nails were.  Enjoy!)

“Jesus Appears to His Disciples Hand Craft” (A very easy  and affordable project.  Enjoy!)

“Don’t Miss Church Coloring and Activity Sheets/Group Activities”

“Jesus Appears Coloring Page”

“Jesus Appears Craft” (This easy craft uses white crayons and watercolors to make Jesus “appear.”  Enjoy!)

“Jesus Appears to His Disciples Youtube Puppet Video”

“Jesus Appears to His Disciples Youtube Video (Older)”

“Jesus Speaks Peace Coloring Sheet”

Jesus Crafts and Activities:

“I ‘TOAD’ ally Love Jesus Craft”

“Jesus is my Hero Butterfly Craft”

“Jesus Toilet Paper Craft” (This awesome craft of Jesus Christ declares who He is and what He has done for you. Enjoy!)

“My Heart Belongs To Jesus Craft” (Don’t we love Him for all that He has done in healing and delivering us?!  Yes, we do! Students can declare that love through this cute craft. Enjoy!)

“Jesus Color By Number” (Students can color Jesus’ name by following the specified numbers with colors. It also has the John 3:16 verse attached to it. Enjoy!) For the coloring sheet without numbers click here to print  .

“Jesus Puppet Craft” (Make a Jesus puppet to illustrate today’s lesson. This one was originally for the story of the Ten Lepers but a Jesus puppet can go with any of His stories. Simply scroll down to the Jesus puppet craft, click and print. Enjoy!)

“Jesus Saves Picture Frame” (This one would go great with dealing with deliverance. Enjoy!)




2 thoughts on ““Receive Ye the Holy Ghost!” Sunday School Lesson, John 20:19-23, March 22, 2015

  1. Pingback: “Simon Said What?!” Sunday School Lesson, Acts 8:9-24, October 4, 2015 | Word For Life Says . . .

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