The Breath of Jesus

breath
artist unknown, but greatly appreciated

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:20-22, ESV

Here we have an eye-witness account of the most amazing event in all of human history!  The risen Jesus, who definitely is not dead flesh, appears in a locked room that the stunned disciples hid out in.  He is now flesh and blood, as real as you or me.  The disciples are pretty much freaked out by all of this.  Fearful mutterings can be heard, “What is this… who is this…who unlocked the door?”

The risen Lord walks in with 22 eyes fixed on him.  He is confident,  and walks with resurrection authority.  He holds out his hands–they see for themselves the wounds the nails made.  He lifts his robe, and they kneel down to see for themselves the holes.  In spite of His brutal wounds, He shows He indeed is the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Savior of the world!

The disciples are ecstatic!  They are spontaneously laughing and crying and leaping around the room.  It’s like they just won the World Series, (but without the champagne!)  Pure joy pulsates through them.  He is very much alive! (Hey, isn’t that Andrew, doing a backflip?)

It’s in this ‘gonzo-intense’ moment, Jesus speaks–and they become very quiet.  He proceeds to impart peace into their hearts and minds with a simple command, “Peace be with you” verse 21.  Peace is a vital ingredient in the humble heart of every faithful disciple.

He then directs them to complete the work that the Father gave him to do.  He now extends the torch of evangelistic work to them. Seeing the resurrection up close like this will drastically alter your life’s trajectory. (They’ll be further fortified by the coming of Holy Spirit at Pentecost described in Acts 2:1-4.)

It’s now the time for the excited emotion of the moment to put on ‘work gloves.’

In this Jesus had does something unprecedented, He leans over each disciple and exhales on them. Now this is more than just a really weird ritual.  You see, His breath is saturated with resurrection life, and they inspire into their lungs the life of a risen man!  They now carry his ‘life essence,’ and in the light of Jesus’ previous statements to them are any indication, they will need it.

When God created Adam, he gave him his breath (Genesis 2:7).  Life is more than existence; it is the energy to “live.” When you really experience the resurrected Jesus, you will need more than good and noble ideas.  You’ll need Him, and you will need to rely on his breath to lead you to wherever you’re sent.

Jesus breathes on all His witnesses–those who have been picked to follow.  His breath fills our lungs, his oxygen enters our blood stream, where it now powers us on a biochemical level.  You can never, ever be the same again.  Never, even if you tried.

“If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

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He Walks Through Walls

36″While Jesus’ disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37 They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.

    38 But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39 Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

    40 After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, “Do you have something to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 He took it and ate it as they watched.”

Luke 24:36-43

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Sometimes in a story [a real one mind you] you get this vivid sense of seeing what really happened.  Luke’s account ignites that in me.  With the flair of the dramatic– Jesus, freshly resurrected, bursts into the room and who scares everyone.  I guess it was one of those times where you just had to be there in order to really get it.

“Frightened” and “terrified”–it took two words to describe this spooky experience.  Not only that, but they got real freaky, he had to be a ghost!  I can only imagine their fear.  I think everyone present bolted to the door.  But wait a second!  “The door is still  locked?! OMG, what can we do?”

We see Jesus [I think he was lovingly amused] point out that he was still a human being–look at me!  Think for a second, have you ever tried to get a pet dog, who is so scared he’s peeing on the floor, to come to you?  I see the disciples kind of half crawling, stooped and very unsure about this.  They slowly encircle Jesus and as they come, he is laughing. He has returned.

Laughing from the pure joy of one who has endured hell and has come out on the other side, intact.  I believe Jesus is reveling in the moment, and he is among friends whom he loves and vice versa.  Jesus is alive, he has done the impossible, and they are laughing and crying at the same time!

We have walls.  You and I.  They give us security and protection.  We feel we have to have them.  The disciples feel like there is security in numbers and safety in their walls.  I can so relate.

But Jesus penetrates our walls.  And we come ‘face-to-face’ with him.

Look closely now, it is resurrection power–the most awesome force in the universe, more intense than the sun.  It’s funny, when Moses prostrated himself before the Lord’s glory, he changed.  Not only that, but he had to take precautions to cover his face when he returned to camp.

As broken believers we must be prepared for any eventuality.  Jesus can and will burst into our homes, and into our very lives.  Can you hear him laugh?  When he comes, nothing really is the same again.  He loves his disciples too much to leave them in the dark in a stuffy room.  He comes for you!

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“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me.”

Revelation 3:20, NCV

 

CCM Classic Spotlight–Dallas Holm

Indeed a classic CCM from the Broken Believer music library.  This man has had a long run of over 40 years of music ministry.  His song, “Rise Again” took over the CCM charts for several months, winning the Dove Awards best song of the year in 1977.

Rise Again Lyrics

musician: Dallas Holm & Praise

Go ahead, drive the nails in My hands;
Laugh at me… where you stand.
Go ahead, and say it isn’t Me;
The day will come… when you will see.

(Refrain)
‘Cause I’ll rise…. again;
Ain’t no power on earth can keep Me down!
Yes, I’ll rise… again;
Death can’t keep Me in the ground.

Go ahead, mock My name;
My love for you is still the same.
Go ahead, and bury Me;
But very soon, I will be free!

(Refrain) (Instrumental bridge)

Go ahead, and say I’m dead and gone,
But you will see that you were wrong.
Go ahead, try to hide the Son;
But all will see that I’m the One!

(Final refrain)
‘Cause I’ll come again!
Ain’t no power on earth can keep me back!
Yes, I’ll come again;
Come to take My people back.

Dallas Holm’s official website:

http://www.dallasholm.com/servlet/StoreFront

Can These Bones Live?

 1Some time later, I felt the LORD’s power take control of me, and his Spirit carried me to a valley full of bones. 2The LORD showed me all around, and everywhere I looked I saw bones that were dried out. 3He said, “Ezekiel, son of man, can these bones come back to life?”

   I replied, “LORD God, only you can answer that.”

    4He then told me to say:

   Dry bones, listen to what the LORD is saying to you, 5“I, the LORD God, will put breath in you, and once again you will live. 6I will wrap you with muscles and skin and breathe life into you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

    7I did what the LORD said, but before I finished speaking, I heard a rattling noise. The bones were coming together! 8I saw muscles and skin cover the bones, but they had no life in them.

    9The LORD said:

   Ezekiel, now say to the wind, [a] “The LORD God commands you to blow from every direction and to breathe life into these dead bodies, so they can live again.” 10As soon as I said this, the wind blew among the bodies, and they came back to life! They all stood up, and there were enough to make a large army.

    11The LORD said:

   Ezekiel, the people of Israel are like dead bones. They complain that they are dried up and that they have no hope for the future. 12So tell them, “I, the LORD God, promise to open your graves and set you free. I will bring you back to Israel, 13and when that happens, you will realize that I am the LORD. 14My Spirit will give you breath, and you will live again. I will bring you home, and you will know that I have kept my promise. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Ezekiel 37

 

Ezekiel is transported to a place where things like this happen and are not considered overly exotic or strange.  He is not freaked out with this, or the transformation of bones to people.  (Although I’m sure his blood-pressure went high for a bit.)  Ezekiel looks over this valley of human bones that are beyond the point of decay.  In a moment of time there is a reanimation, bones get connected with other bones, and scattered remains become complete corpses.

Ezekiel is obviously astonished.  He extrapolates off of what he sees, and it is indeed a complete army, and it is ready to step out to do God’s Will.  It is critical to see that there is no apparent effort, no real perspiring by God to energize these bones.  God wills it, and its done.  No fuss, no muss.  It just— happens.

As we consider our own transformation  (and it really is that) we can be confident that it presents no great issue to our Lord to bring you life.  We view His promises from our personal perspective.  But that is all wrong.  Often we nullify many good things because of our issues of personal doubt.

Resurrection life is offered to us, if we will just reach out and take it.  It’s not rocket science, ‘presto-chango.’  But it is sufficient to put the resurrection into these hard, dry hearts.  The track record of the Kingdom of God has a phenomenal growth pattern.  (You could grow hair on billiard ball if God enabled it!)

“Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God. 11 God raised Jesus from the dead, and if God’s Spirit is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies that die. God is the One who raised Christ from the dead, and he will give life through[a] his Spirit that lives in you.”  

Romans 8:10-11, NCV

Confidence in His ability is desperately needed in the Church right now.  Life in a resurrection sense has to be returned back into our fellowships.  People are waiting, in skeletal piles, for God to do something amazing again.  So many wait, and we are the Ezekiels.  We do not have the power to resurrect anyone.  But we do have the power to pray.  And we know Jesus’ has the power to raise the dead.