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Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Breath of God (Luke 24:49)

"I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."


He's back! And He is inside of believers!

I like to think of the Holy Spirit waiting or hovering with excitement for the sixth day of creation when He would enter into freshly created humanity. Genesis 2:7 describes the creation of man: "The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Is that what the Holy Spirit had been hovering and waiting for all along? To enter man's spirit?

Job describes the breath of God in the spirit of man:
  • "But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding"
  • "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 32:8; 33: 4)
So what happened to Eve when she "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom"? When she took and ate its fruit she chose an alternate source of wisdom instead of God's (Genesis 3:6). She (and Adam) rejected the understanding and knowledge gained by the Spirit's presence in her (their) life. When she ate of the tree's fruit she died. Not physically, but spiritually. The Spirit moved out.

That's why Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must experience the Spiritual birth. And, that's why Jesus speaks peace to the disciples and breaths on the them saying "Receive the Holy Spirit". He's back where He belongs -- in the spirit of man. No longer does He hover on the outside, as He did the first five days of creation, but He resides on the inside. That's why Pentecost is such a BIG deal to believers. Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the Father made receiving the Holy Spirit possible.

It is interesting that Jesus links the presence of the Holy Spirit with forgiveness (John 20:22-23). Wherever the Spirit of God dwells the work of forgiveness takes place. Those born of the Spirit are forgivers. He's back to give life and provide forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness for me and forgiveness through me to others. Those who've been "breathed upon by God" are forgiven and forgiving people.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Matthew 28:11-15
  • What do the chief priests and elders do to continue their deception? (They misappropriate temple funds again)
  • How would you describe the chief priests?
Luke 24:13-35
  • How does Jesus explain the coming of the Christ to the two on the Emmaus Road?
  • What does Jesus do that reveals His true identity?
  • What had happened as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them?
  • What does this tell you about the Scriptures?
Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23

  • Why do the disciples have such a hard time believing in Jesus' resurrection?
John 20:24-31

  • How does Jesus confront Thomas' unbelief?
  • How does Jesus describe those who will believe without actually seeing the risen Lord and what does He promise them?
Matthew 28:16-20

  • What instructions had Jesus given Peter and the other disciples before His arrest and crucifixion?
  • Describe the assignment given to the disciples and the provision enabling them to complete their assignment.
  • Does this assignment include Jesus' disciples today?
John 21:1-25

  • How does Jesus restore Peter?
  • What has Peter learned about himself over the past three years? About Jesus? About what it means to follow Jesus?
Luke 24:44-53

  • Why are the Scriptures easier to understand to some and not to others?
  • What have the Scriptures meant to Jesus throughout His life?
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the Lord for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to the Scriptures. "Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18).