Saturday, 5 March 2011

Receive the Holy Spirit

We all need God's help - and we all know that. How does it happen? It happens in all sorts of ways, but one of the ways in which we most often explain it is with reference to the empowering of the Holy Spirit. God, the Holy Spirit, enables us. John, near the end of his Gospel, records how Jesus leaves the first disciples with the Holy Spirit - Then he (Jesus) breathed on them, saying, 'Receive the Holy Spirit!' (John 20:22). What was possible then and there is just as possible now and here. If we put that in context, we are with a group of frightened disciples, not knowing which way to turn, to whom Jesus gives direction, transforming the situation. In his little commentary on John, Richard Burridge ("John" by Richard A. Burridge, Bible Reading Fellowship, 1998) makes some interesting and helpful comments as to how we can see this: "It is like God breathing 'the breath of life' into Adam or breathing upon the valley of dry bones (Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:1-14). C.S. Lewis depicts it well as Aslan breathes upon the children in Narnia whenever they need strength for the tasks he gives them" (p. 233).

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