Second Sunday of Easter
The Breath of Life
I know that this text is about Thomas and his serious doubts about whether Jesus is alive. But it is also about the way God provides help for us in our fear and doubting.
This passage always stops me in my tracks when I hear Jesus say, “‘Peace be with you. As the Father as sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21–22). God’s Breath, which is God’s Spirit, is given to us. We are not wise enough to ask, but God knows that we will need internal fortitude to face the challenges of living faith in Christ; so God gives us Spirit.
This text takes me back to Genesis 2:7, where the ancient Hebrew text says, “Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” We don’t live very long without breathing, and here in Genesis it is clear that the difference between a dust person and a living flesh person is God’s Breath. It is clear in John’s Gospel that the difference between a fearful, doubting person and a confident, peaceful person is also the Breath of God.
This week take a few minutes and imagine yourself as a member of that party in the upper room with the doors closed and locked “for fear . . .” Imagine that you see Jesus in your midst, telling you to receive his Breath of life. Then breathe in deeply and receive this Breath of Life into your body. I believe this Breath of Life is available to us today, just as it was to the dust man and to those fearful disciples in the locked room in Jerusalem.
Carol Foltz, pastor
Moravia Moravian Church, Oak Ridge, North Carolina