Wednesday, April 6, 2005

The Holy Breath

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
So Jesus said to them, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sings of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23).
God breathed into Adam; Jesus breathed into the disciples. In both instances, this was an impartation of the Holy Spirit. What was also being imparted was the authority to speak on behalf of God and heaven.

In Genesis 2, God literally “puffed” into Adam’s nostrils. The Hebrew word is naphach.

In John 20, Jesus literally “puffed” on the disciples. The Greek word is emphysao. It is the same word used to translate naphach in the Septuagint (an early Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament).

In Genesis 2, Adam became a breathing, speaking spirit, with the capacity to think God’s thoughts and speak God’s words. (See Created to Know and Speak the Mind of God)

In John 20, the disciples received the Holy Spirit and were sent out in the same way that Jesus was sent out. They were given authority to forgive sins, or retain them. This was the authority to speak the Gospel, to extend the forgiveness of God through preaching the Good News.

There has always been great power in the human capacity to speak words. Even from the beginning, they were meant to reveal the mind of God. Now, even more, God has given us authority to extend the forgiveness of His heart to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.