John 20:21-22 (NIV)
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Blessings to you this Pentecost Sunday! Today we begin our new series titled “Receive the Holy Spirit” – and I’m looking forward to our journey together.
Breathe in deeply with me for a moment. Now, breathe out. Feels good, doesn’t it? Our breath is unseen, but yet is so very, very real. Breath and breathing are powerful, primal images for us as human beings. To breathe is to be alive.
In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is understood to be God’s very breath – the pure expression of his sustaining, creating, and transforming life (Gen. 1:2). In the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit is called “the giver of life.” Anything we can, and could say about the Holy Spirit will always come back to the fact that the Spirit is the breath, the wind, the living, active, creative, and life-giving presence – of the Creator of the universe.
In John 20, the image of the Spirit as the breath of God comes to the fore as Jesus steps into a room full of bewildered disciples immediately following his resurrection. Can you imagine the moment? Mary said she had seen the Lord (v. 18) – should they, could they, believe her? As Jesus enters the room where they’ve been hiding from the Jewish authorities (v. 19), they are suddenly awakened from their unbelief, fear, and disillusionment – they are seeing Jesus alive before their very eyes!
He is breathing again, by the Spirit that raised him from the dead (Rom. 8:11)! Their Lord was just recently breath-less on the cross; now he is standing in front of them, breath-full and ready to provide divine resuscitation to any soul ready to rise with him! Jesus begins to speak, and in the same way Jesus spoke to the disciples in that room where their lives changed for good, so too our risen Lord walks into the room of our hearts, by the Spirit, and speaks these words to you and I today.
“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you!” Receive his comfort.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Receive his commission.
“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Receive his life-giving blessing – his presence, strength, and hope for all your days ahead!
So how about it? Are you ready to join the early disciples? Are you ready to receive the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to breathe more deeply the breath of God? That’s what these days will be about for us.
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. Open me up to receive all you have for me. Come, Holy Spirit. I open my heart to you as the disciples did, to receive the life-giving gift of your presence. I am ready for my own personal Pentecost. I receive your Holy Spirit!
- Have you ever needed to catch a good, full breath? How did it feel when you felt that unseen air rush into your lungs?
- In what ways does that moment speak of what happened for the disciples in John 20 – and what can happen in you if you open yourself now to receive the Holy Spirit?
For the Awakening,