Monday, June 15, 2015


When I was in middle school I had a math teacher named Mr. Logger. Between classes we would see him outside sucking down as many cigarettes as he could, as fast as he could, before the bell rang and classes resumed. He also had this huge green thermos, the kind with the handle on the side, and the lid that you could take off and use as a mug. Every 20 minutes or so, all day long, he would walk over to this thermos he kept by his desk and refill his mug with steaming hot coffee. I didn’t mind. None of this bothered me.

But, what did bother me…what drove me nuts…what made me nervous and sick to my stomach, was when I got stuck on a math problem. I knew I needed his help to work through the problem, but if I asked, I knew he would come over to my desk, kneel down next to me, and blow his stinkin hot, coffee laden, cigarette breath right in my face.

…And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22 This is Jesus breathing on his students. They didn’t have toothpaste or toothbrushes back then, so his breath had to be pretty bad. I can’t help but think of Mr. Logger, who I’m sure had good intentions, but needed to drink just as much Listerine as he did coffee.

Jesus a teacher, leans over and right after lunch, and breathes on his students. The word “breath” is pneuma (nooma) and can mean “breath, wind, or spirit.” Jesus breathes on his students and then says, receive the Holy Spirit, or breath. The words, Breath and Spirit are the same word, so Jesus is using this play on words. Receive the breath. Receive the Spirit. He then goes on to tell them about the spirit, the breath. It’s full of peace and joy, and hope, and truth, and comfort, and love.

Breathe in.
It’s full of forgiveness, and grace, and love, and mercy, and hope.

Breathe out. Inhale. Exhale.

Breathe in the breath of God and experience his love and hope and peace and comfort and joy.

Breathe out the breath of God. Breathe out God’s love and hope and peace and comfort and joy on others.

There are times where I feel lonely, and desperate, and hopeless, and afraid. Times where I feel defeated and depressed and anxious and stressed out, and I breathe in. I inhale God’s hope, and joy and comfort and peace. The more I breathe in the breath of God, the more I am able to breathe out his hope and truth and joy and comfort and peace into the lives of others.

Breathe in the breath of God.
Breathe out his breath on others. 

~ Brad Holmes

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