“In the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.’” — John 20:19-22
Theodore Dreiser, writing about his Indiana home, said: “Oh, the moon is fair tonight along the Wabash. From the fields there comes the breath of new-mown hay.” Those who have lived on a farm or, or in any rural setting for that matter, can identify with Dreiser’s nostalgia. There is something sweet and pleasant in “the breath of new-mown hay,” the aroma of which lingers long after the experience is past.
On the first evening of resurrection day, the apostles were cloistered in an upper room and were there visited by Jesus. After speaking to them of two important legacies, “he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
Jesus spoke to them of peace (verse 21). Peace with God and the peace of God is a foundational legacy given to us by the resurrected Christ. It is the anchor of new life. Without this peace, everything else in the Christian’s life is diminished. Before the imparted power of the Holy Spirit can be appreciated, there must be peace.
A second legacy spoken of by Jesus is purpose (verse 21b): “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Power is unnecessary if there is no purpose. Jesus said, in essence, “my purpose is now becoming your purpose.” We are sent as He was sent. Our purpose is to bring the life of God to a world in death.
As the aroma of the new-mown hay blessed the countryside, so the sweet breath of that One, who had but recently returned from the fields of immorality, blessed the apostles. Power became a personal reality for these cowering disciples. What a glorious experience. Surely it lingered forever in their hearts, blessing their lives and, through them, the lives of others.
Today, the Father breathes the Holy Spirit into every one who experiences new birth through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The atmosphere surrounding each new believer testifies to the life-giving breath of God! Peace, purpose and power become ours for the sharing when we come into relationship with Him!
Does a breath of power permeate your life today? Do others experience a “change of atmosphere” when you come into their presence? Has your life really changed since you believed?
Oh, that a breath of power would blow across our lives…our land!