BREATHE ON ME 22817 Andy Hollifield 6-8-19
John 20:19 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (20) And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they SAW the Lord. (21) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
What I really want to look at is in verse 22 where it says, “he breathed on them.” Think about what a moment that must have been for them to sit there as Jesus paused as he passed by each one and breathed on them. I hope that is doing in your soul what it has done in mine! What a sweet peaceful moment that had to be. Here the disciples were, gathered there for fear of the Jews, and in walks Jesus, stood in the midst of them and said: “Peace be unto you.” As a parent, I remember the times alone in the middle of the night with our baby so congested and not able to breathe, I would sit and watch him try to sleep while waiting for some medicine to take effect. Just sitting there watching his chest and listening, scared to death of what might happen next. Sometimes so fearful I wasn’t sure the next breath was coming. Finally, as the medicine took effect and the prayers got answered, his body would go limp and he would be still and his little chest would rise and fall in perfect rhythm. What had just happened? He was finally at peace and resting easy. I remember the overwhelming relief that finally it looked like he would be ok and I was glad he was able to rest. I figure that night with the disciples probably felt a lot like that for them. With fear coursing through their veins, knowing what had recently happened and having been told by Mary and others that Jesus was alive again and Peter and John having seen for themselves that the tomb was empty, anxious with fear about what would likely happen in the coming moments. Surely the high priest would accuse them of stealing the body of Jesus and would come looking for them. At any moment, soldiers could bust through the door and capture or kill them. Especially Peter; he had been the most outspoken of all and it was likely going through his mind that they probably hadn’t forgotten that he was the one that drew his sword and took off the ear of Malchus the servant of the high priest. Any minute now, disaster was likely to strike. But instead, all of a sudden with the doors being shut, stood Jesus right there in the midst of them. And in the midst of all their fear, anxiety, and chaos, he says “Peace be unto you.” Can you picture that moment? Have you experienced that moment? That moment when in the midst of the impossible, Jesus suddenly pops in and says “Peace be unto you, I’ve got this.” And as he shows the evidence of what he has done, you instantly become glad when you see him. That is exactly what happened when Jesus showed them his hands and his side, they were glad when they saw the Lord. I have been in that place when the fever broke or Tyler drifted off to sleep or when I finally drifted off to sleep in the midst of worry. What a blessing when the Lord shows up and shows out just because he can. Actually, he was there all the time but he was just waiting till I finally admitted there was nothing I could do and give up. That is when he begins to work. When we give up and give in, that is when God gets the most glory and we can’t take any credit for what is accomplished. Just like in the case of Lazarus, sometimes he tarries, waiting for the right situation so we can’t make no mistake and think something we have done has worked and made things better. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Now, back to that upper room. I hadn’t seen this before but after they became glad, Jesus said again to them’ “Peace be unto you.” Nothing like a double portion of peace in those high anxiety storms. I know we have a lot of folks that say “I don’t let stuff bother me that bad.” Good for you, I am happy for you. I don’t let it bother me, but the devil hasn’t ever asked my permission before he messed with my mind. He didn’t ask Job what he thought about it before he afflicted him either. When I walk uphill, I get tired a lot quicker. When I walk uphill in a bunch of snow or even in mud, I tire even quicker. In our spiritual life, to get to the mountain tops, we have to fight the cold and the snow on the high peaks or sometimes it is just a bunch of mud from all the runoff from our storm. But when you get on top, the view is worth the struggle. You’re still tired and weary and maybe even bruised and battered but it is still worth it for that view. To be there, close to him and see him, makes your heart glad in spite of the troubles of the journey. As close to him as what the disciples were, if they were hiding out for fear, I am sure it is no surprise to him when I do. Elijah was a lot better man than me and he hid in a cave the day following the greatest victory in his life. I call it “Elijah syndrome” when you’re on the mountain top one day and eating bugs off the ground in the valley the next day.
Now that we have established the fact that we are all human, I want to point out something else. After he spoke peace the second time, the next thing he did was gave them the command to go. If he wanted them to lay around and enjoy each others company and the goodness of the Lord in a safe place, he wouldn’t have told them to go. As church members, if we aren’t careful we will try to do that. Just abide in the safety of the Lord’s house and insulate ourselves from sinners. We can’t win them if we don’t talk to them. We have to go. If you need proof that he wanted them in contact with sinners, in verse 23 he told them they could remit sins, which means to pardon or forgive. If they weren’t in contact with sinners that statement would be unnecessary. What I have really been trying to get to is the statement right before that one and his action before that. Verse 22 says after he told them to go, “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
Before I get sidetracked I noticed something Sunday night when I read this that I hadn’t seen before. For about 45 years I have either read or heard this scripture, especially around Easter, and preached out of it several times but I always missed this. If you look at verses 24-29 you find the story of Thomas. You find that he wasn’t there the first time Jesus came. We don’t know why but we do know he had been told. Jesus specifically told Mary in the garden to tell Peter and his disciples. He is not a respecter of persons so I don’t believe anyone was left out. As far as we know, he was with them when Mary returned from the garden. He never complained about not knowing about the resurrection, he just said he wouldn’t believe without proof. If you notice in these verses, when Jesus came back the second time Thomas didn’t hold to his boasting. As far as we know, he never put his hand or fingers anywhere in the wounds of Jesus but he did believe. Jesus forgave his doubt and still blessed him. But the thing I noticed was that he never breathed on him and gave him the Holy Ghost. If I am reading correctly, Thomas spent the time between the resurrection and Pentecost having to operate on fact and not on the working of the Holy Ghost in his life. I may be wrong but that’s how I see it. After that evening however, every time the disciples are gathered Thomas is there. In John 21 when they went fishing Thomas was there. In Acts 1 Jesus is gathered together with the apostles he had chosen; one of which was Thomas. In Acts 2, the scripture says “they were ALL with one accord in one place.” It goes on to say in verse 3 “And there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon EACH of them.” In verse 4 the bible says that “they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
What I am trying to say is that if we want the power of God in our life, we are going to have to be where Jesus tells us to be when he tells us to be there. We are going to have to be in one accord in obedience to his word. Had Thomas been there the first time like he should have been, he would have gotten breathed on and received the Holy Ghost that night like the rest of them. You have to give him credit though. He was smarter than a lot of us are sometimes. At least he learned his lesson. The disciples never gathered together again without him being there. He must have decided that having the Lord breathe on him was far more important than anything else he might have had going on. The word “breathed” is only used 4 times in scripture and only once in the New Testament. Twice it is used in judgment. In Genesis 2:7 God breathed into man’s nostrils and he became a living soul. In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on men and they received the Holy Ghost.
I am not advocating multiple workings of the Holy Ghost. Christ hadn’t ascended yet so these men, although believers, were walking by sight and not by faith as we are. Now, when we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Ghost takes up residence in our soul at that time. We do not get saved by works or in degrees. It is up to us whether or not we allow the Holy Ghost to have right of way to work in our lives to our benefit and the blessings of God. It would do us all a world of good to be found in his presence with the saints and put ourselves in the position for him to breathe on us. May you submit yourselves to him today and may the sweet peace of his breathing be upon you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!