8-BORN OF THE SPIRIT
BORN OF THE SPIRIT
John 20:17-22 ASV Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. (18) Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her. (19) When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (20) And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. (21) Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:
JESUS WAS IN HIS GLORIFIED BODY WHEN THIS EVENT OCCURRED.
1. He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." The use of the Greek verb breathed on (emphusato describes the action of Jesus), here recalls Gen 2:7 in the Septuagint (LXX), where "the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
2. This time, however, it is Jesus who is breathing the breath-Spirit of eternal life, life from above, into his disciples — cp. John 3:3-10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (8) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (9) Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
3. Furthermore there is the imagery of Ezk. 37:1-14, the prophecy concerning the resurrection of the dry bones: Ezekiel 37:1-14 ASV The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. (2) And he caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest. (4) Again he said unto me, Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. (5) Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. (7) So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and, behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. (8) And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. (9) Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. (10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. (12) Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people. (14) And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it, saith Jehovah.
4. In Ezk 37:9 the Son of Man is told to prophesy to the "wind-breath-Spirit" to come and breathe on the corpses, so that they will live again.
5. In Ezk. 37:14 the Lord promised, "I will put my Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you in your own land."
6. In terms of ultimate fulfillment the passage in Ezk. 37 looks at the regeneration of Israel immediately prior to the establishment of the messianic kingdom at the onset of the Millennial Reign of Christ.
7. The author saw in what Jesus did for the disciples at this point a partial and symbolic fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy, much as Peter made use of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 in his sermon on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Act 2:17-21.
8. Joel 2:28-32 ASV And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. (30) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh. (32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call.
9. Acts 2:17-21 ASV And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams: (18) Yea and on My servants and on My handmaidens in those days Will I pour forth of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy. (19) And I will show wonders in the heaven above, And signs on the earth beneath; Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: (20) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the day of the Lord come, That great and notable day. (21) And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
WHAT THEN DID JESUS DO FOR THE DISCIPLES IN John 20:22?
1. It appears that in light of the symbolism of the new creation present here, as well as the regeneration symbolism from the Ezekiel 37 passage, that Jesus at this point breathed into the disciples the breath of eternal life. This was in the form of the Holy Spirit, who was to indwell them.
2. It is instructive to look again John 7:38-39, which states, "Just as the scripture says, 'Out from within him will flow rivers of living water.' (Now he said this about the Spirit whom those who believed in him were going to receive; for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.")
3. But now in John 20:22 Jesus was glorified, so the Spirit could be given.
4. Had the disciples not believed in Jesus before?
5. It seems clear that they had, since their belief is repeatedly affirmed, beginning with — John 2:11 ASV This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
6. But it also seems clear that even on the eve of the crucifixion, they did not understand the necessity of the cross — John 16:31-33 ASV Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? (32) Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (33) These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
7. And even after the crucifixion, the disciples had not realized that there was going to be a resurrection — John 20:9 ASV For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
8. Ultimate recognition of who Jesus was appears to have come to them only after the post-resurrection appearances (note the response of Thomas, who was not present at this incident — John 20:28 ASV Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
9. Finally, what is the relation of this incident in John 20:22 to the account of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2?
- It is best to view these as two separate events which have two somewhat different purposes.
- The FIRST was the giving of life itself, which flowed out from within (cp. John 7:38-39). John 7:38-39 ASV He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. (39) But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.
- The SECOND was the giving of power would occur later on the day of Pentecost power to witness and carry out the mission the disciples had been given. — Acts 1:5 ASV for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence. — Acts 1:8 ASV But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
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