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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
When Jesus bestowed on the disciples the power to forgive sins, it was on Easter Sunday. This is important because of the connection of the Resurrection with spiritual life. Also he breathed this power on the Apostles. The only other time God breathed on anyone was when He breathed life into the first human being (Genesis 2:7). Jesus gives the disciples the authority to forgive, and not to forgive.
Reconciliation shines in a new light when I read this passage. Sin brings death, and reconciliation brings a new breath of life. God is so good to us! Come Holy Spirit.