“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV).
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night to ask the famous question, “How can a man be born again?” (John 3), Jesus explained that being born again is not a physical birth, but a spiritual re-birth. He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 ESV).
So let’s take the time to explain this, and if necessary, we can add a Part 6 so we can cover everything. (And Hi, everybody! Thanks for following along in this series. We love and appreciate you!)
In the beginning, God created Adam by first forming him and then by breathing his own breath into him: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 NIV). Adam did not become a living being until God breathed life into him. Adam had a form but he did not yet have a spirit.
The Hebrew word used here for breath is nĕshamah, which means breath, soul, spirit and inspiration. If you were to stop breathing, and I were to breathe into your lungs to attempt to resuscitate you, I might be able to keep you around long enough for help to arrive, but I would not be able to breathe soul, spirit and inspiration into you. Only God can do that. The breath of God is the Breath of Life.
Now let’s look at something interesting that Jesus did with the apostles after his resurrection but before his ascension. Please note that this took place on the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, in the same upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost described above occurred.
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:19-21 NIV).
In Part 1 of this series, we explained that when Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit, he is at the same time giving us his peace (John 14:27). Therefore, please note that Jesus made it a point to say to his disciples in the upper room before he breathed on them, “Peace be with you!” not once, but twice. First, I think, to reassure them before giving them the proof of his death on the cross by showing them his wounds; and then as a reminder of what he had said to them three days earlier. This time, Jesus breathed on them and endued them with his peace.
This was the first time that the Holy Spirit was imparted to believers, to remain with them forever. At this point, Jesus’ disciples, in the upper room, on the day of his resurrection, were given the proofs of the death of Christ by examining his wounds, and the proof that he had defeated death by rising again by appearing behind locked doors in the midst of his disciples. Once they believed and were filled with joy, Christ imparted his Spirit to them. In that moment, they were born again into the kingdom of God and received salvation. The Body of Christ had been resuscitated.
So why was it necessary for Jesus’ disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father after the ascension, if Jesus had already breathed his Holy Spirit into them? And what exactly happened on the Day of Pentecost?
We will answer those questions in Part 6!
Blue Letter Bible. "Neshamah". Blue Letter Bible. n.d. Web. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5397&t=ESV . 14 June, 2019.