As we continue with our Gospel reading from yesterday, I have to admit I’ve always found the next part of the scene a little disturbing.
On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, after He enters the locked room where the disciples are hiding and offers them peace, Jesus does the weirdest thing. He breathes on them. Now, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a standard practice, and I can’t quite picture how this would have gone down, but I would think that it would have gotten my attention. Right after, Jesus tells them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
I recently heard a connection that brought all of this into focus for me. In Genesis, Adam is created from the earth, but he is brought to life as God breathes into his nostrils. (Gen 2:7) The word for Spirit in the Bible is also the word for “breath.” Adam receives God’s spirit, which gives him life. After the resurrection, Jesus again breathes new life into those who believe in Him. He gives the Holy Spirit, His very breath, to the disciples so that they can go forth as He did.
We have also been given the Holy Spirit. It has been made available for all of us. Feel this breath upon you. It is gentle, it is strong, it is peaceful, it is brave, it is a small breath, it is a raging fire. Receive the Holy Spirit, and go.
Not done yet… We’ll continue tomorrow.