Prayer for the day
LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; hearken, O God of Jacob.
Scripture for the day
Jesus is Risen!!!!
The disciples were in awe of the risen Jesus, who, though he had given them all sorts of clues, was supposed to be dead! The disciples had been moving through a veil of pain and tears, mourning the death of the lord they had been following so faithfully. And then, in an instant, their fear was banished, their pain dissipated, and their hopelessness was destroyed. In their place, a glorious joy at the life of their lord.
In the midst of their excitement, Jesus does something unexpected (more so than rising from the dead?). Jesus breathes on them. He says “receive the Holy Spirit” and he breathes on them. It is in this breath, we are to understand, that Jesus passes on the divine blessing to his disciples. He understands that he will no longer be with them physically, to guide them and teach them as he has been doing, and so he breathes the divine life into them in the person of the Holy Spirit. His presence, then, will remain with them, even though his body is absent.
I doubt that the disciples truly understood the import of what Jesus was saying in that moment (their track record of understanding his words wasn’t all that great). His breath signified a new reality for the disciples.
God’s breath, God’s word, regularly signifies a new reality. In the book of Ezra, the people are commanded to stop work on the temple. They are commanded by the most powerful kings in the world at the time. And yet, the voice of God comes to them and tells them that this work will go on unhindered. The new reality is breathed to them: the kings of this earth are not the big shots they think they are. There is a bigger shot!!
The breath and word of God gives us hope that the reality we know is not the true reality, but only a veneer that may be peeled away by the simple breath of God.