A NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK’S DEVOTIONS: Last week, we focused on the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Jesus died on that cross, and his body laid in a borrowed grave. But death could not contain him. The tomb is empty and Jesus is risen from the dead! This week we focus on first seven words Jesus speaks on this side of the resurrection.
John 20:19-22 NRSV
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
Here are two things wrapped into one.
Jesus breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
In the place we find ourselves today, staying at home and keeping our distance, the thought of someone breathing on us doesn’t sound very appealing.
But this breath that the Risen Christ offers is life-giving.
In the book of Genesis, it is the breath of God, in Hebrew the word is “ruah” – wind, spirit. Into that clump of clay, God breathes life.
Take a moment and fill your lungs with breath of life! For LIFE ITSELF is a gift from God.
Jesus breathes on them and says, receive the Holy Spirit.
That life-giving Spirit is given along with a commission – “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
This life-giving Spirit fills them with the gift of the Spirit, empowering them to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. God gives them the ability to share the message with others. Read Acts 2 to see how that happens on Pentecost!
Jesus breathes on them and he sends them.
That life-giving Spirit is given to you and to me as well. It’s not just about preaching.
It is about living today as if this resurrection thing makes a difference in our lives.
Just like Lazarus, called out from the tomb.
Just like Peter – forgiven and called by Jesus to follow.
We too are given another chance, new life.
In the end this is ALL that matters.
Don’t believe me? Listen to a good funeral sermon some time.
In the end – what we have is the good news – God has named and claimed us.
We belong to God.
Christ is Risen. Indeed!
Let us pray:
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Amen