He breathed on them and said them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
Through this verse from the Gospel of John, we look on as the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a much quieter version of the Spirit’s coming. In Acts 2, we hear about the rushing of wind, tongues of fire, and disciples preaching to people in different languages. You can’t get much louder than this!
This giving of the Spirit in John 20, hearkens back to yet another quiet moment in the biblical story. In Genesis 2:7, after Adam’s body is shaped from the soil in the Garden of Eden, we read these words, “The Lord God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” Here at the beginning of all things, God breathed into Adam. How similar is this to when Jesus breathed on the disciples?
In Hebrew the word for “breath”, “wind” and “spirit” is “ruach.” Therefore, it is no stretch to say that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the spirit of life. To take it one step further, the Lord God gave life to Adam and Eve by breathing into their nostrils the Holy Spirit. Now fast forward to the day of the Lord’s resurrection. On that miraculous day, the Lord breathed the Holy Spirit on the disciples and gave them new life.
Perhaps you are asking, “Won’t Jesus breathe on me too?” Well, my friend in Christ, through your Baptism, the Lord has also quietly breathed the Holy Spirit on you. The same Holy Spirit who gave life to Adam, who gave new life to the disciples, is now moving through your lungs. The life you have, the gifts and talents you have been given, are because of this Holy Spirit.
When you are struggling through some hardship and wonder if you can make it, or when the Lord calls you to some task and you wonder if you can do it, I really encourage remembering that Jesus has breathed into your life the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul even states in I Corinthians 3:16 that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is with such grace and strength that you will come through the hardships of your life, and you will complete whatever tasks the Lord calls you to accomplish.
You are in my prayers,