Receive the Breath

John 20: 21 – 22

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Why in the world did Jesus breathe on his disciples? After yesterday’s Word of the Day, I bet you know the answer. Let’s ponder this just a moment though. Yesterday we saw that the breath is the Spirit. We also saw that where this breath is there is life and when there is the absence, there is cessation of life. So, I suggested that everything which has life has a measure of the Holy Spirit. I also wrote that there are different measures of the Spirit. That reality is shown in today’s verses.

John 3: 34 reads, “For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” This verse is about Jesus and says that God gave him the Holy Spirit in unlimited measure. In John 20, Jesus breathed a new measure of the Spirit upon his disciples. I’m thinking, “Inhale deeply.” As he breathed on them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Wouldn’t you think this to be the end of the story regarding Jesus giving them the Spirit? It’s not. Later, in the first book of Acts, Jesus gave further instructions regarding the Holy Spirit to these same disciples, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” (Acts 1: 4 – 5).

I find all of this interesting. We know the connection between the breath, specifically God’s breath, and the Holy Spirit. People who don’t know that the Spirit is the breath of God probably don’t recognize the importance of Jesus breathing on them. In fact, it probably looks odd to them but then Jesus did spit to make clay for a blind man’s eyes, so he has reasons we don’t always recognize the fullness of.

The most interesting thing is this conferring of the Spirit. You get the sense from today’s verse that Jesus was passing his anointing to them. In Acts, it was all about the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, the two acts are related but there must be some nuance in that Jesus is using two events to give the disciples the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So, every person has some of the Breath of God. Jesus has an unlimited measure of the Spirit and I believe it is this fullness, this unlimited measure that he transfers to us at some point.

The thing to ponder is these different measures. Why? If we recognize we can have a bit, some more, and then a fullness, it might move us to pray for the unlimited fullness of the Holy Spirit that Jesus desires for us. So, let’s all get filled up with the Breath of God.

Walking and Talking

John 3: 34

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

John the Baptist was the speaker of this passage. He was talking about Jesus, letting all know that Jesus speaks the words of God. There is comfort in that, is there not? We saw yesterday that Yahweh described His word as like fire and a hammer strong enough to crush stone. Now we find that Jesus did not come speaking his own words but rather the words of God, the words of great power and strength. John the Baptist also said that what Jesus saw and heard from God is what he subsequently shared with us.

That is only half of the good news of this verse though. John also reveals that God gives the Spirit without measure. That means that God does not dose out the Holy Spirit. He gives the fullness of the Spirit. Each one of us is entitled to the full measure, 100% of the Holy Spirit. All of who God is and all He has said is embodied in the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit knows every word God has ever spoken and he has witnessed all of the glory, miracles and workings of the Father. Of course, Jesus came speaking the words of God because the Father gave him the Spirit without measure just as He gives also to us. Does that mean that we can walk as Jesus did? I think it does. We have to get the revelation that Jesus had though. Jesus believed the words of God to such a degree that they manifested everywhere he went.

Jesus walked in perfect union with the Holy Spirit. He knew the mind of God because he woke up with the Spirit every morning and walked and talked with him all day. We can do that too and I think this would make a great goal for each of us for 2017.