October 06, 2019


John 20:19-23

He breathed on them. . . .

—  John 20:22

Breathing air is a sign of being alive. But not just any air will do! Asbestos fibers, nicotine, smog, and other pollutants are harmful and should not be part of the air we breathe. For this reason, our governments set up agencies to regulate air quality.

In today’s passage, the resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to his disciples who were gathered behind locked doors “for fear of the Jewish leaders.” These disciples were alive—that is, they were breathing—yet they were paralyzed with fear. We read that Jesus “breathed on them”—and soon everything would change!

Instead of cowering behind locked doors, they were sent out into the world as the Father had sent Jesus. They received this mission because Jesus not only breathed on them but also commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit, whose name in the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew and Greek) means “breath” or “wind.”

Pictures of breath and life are found throughout God’s story of redemption. When God breathed into the man he had formed, Adam “became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). But later sin came into our lives, and even though we were physically alive, we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Through Christ’s finished work, however, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and through the Holy Spirit we produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

May Christ breathe his life-giving Spirit into our lives today!

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love the way you love, and do what you would do.” Amen.

About the author — Gerrit Bomhof

Gerrit Bomhof immigrated as a young child with his family from the Netherlands to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1954. He graduated from Trinity Christian College in 1972 and from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1976. He served as a pastor to five churches in Canada and retired in June 2017.

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