One way to go about shaking ourselves from the interpretive grooves (ruts!) formed by our Western assumptions is to encounter a reading of a well-known text that seems shocking at first, until the “new” reading focuses our eyes upon the biblical words themselves.
I think that we, just like the disciples, try to find our fill with bread that will not sustain us. We live for the “big experiences” in our faith – the mission trips, the conversion experiences, the prayers with first time believers and the miracles that we see in our daily lives.
But we miss the deepest blessing of prayer, of life with Jesus: that is, Jesus himself. Jesus is calling us: “Sit down a while. Eat with me.”
I am coming to believe that Jesus ordered people to keep quiet because Jesus knew if we talked, we would mess up the simple message: Jesus is the Son of God and he was sent to this earth to free the oppressed and bring restoration to the whole of humanity and creation.
My speculation is that Jesus breathed on them, not to pour out the Spirit, but as one more proof that he was alive.
Christ’s ascension is beautiful, but the power didn’t stop two thousand years ago.