Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

19 April 2020

Easter 2A Sermon: Breathless

Preached on John 20:19–31
The Second Sunday of Easter (Series A)
19 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Breathless. Includes reading of the Gospel, Collect for the Word, Luther’s Evening Prayer, and Benediction.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Breathless, MP3 audio of the sermon.

John 20:19–31 Summary: We shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus breathes on His disciples as He bestows the Holy Spirit. In Scripture, both the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma are commonly used for breath, wind, and spirit. Therefore, His breathing out is a physical sign of the divine gift He gives. Later, on Pentecost, the sound of a “mighty rushing wind (Acts 2:2)” announces the coming of the Holy Spirit even before the tongues of fire appear.

So what happens when that breath is withheld? In common usage, you might be breathless if you exercise vigorously and are aching for oxygen. People with asthma often find themselves breathless, as do those with lung or circulatory troubles. We even talk about “breathless anticipation,” as if we’re afraid that drawing a breath might scare off good news.

What else can be breathless? Among other things, a rock, a statue, or a corpse. None of these can breathe on its own. Just as the first man needed God’s breath in order to have life, so we need His breath in order to move from spiritual death into new life in Him.

With this in mind, we see how Jesus’ breathing the Spirit into the disciples echoes the Creation, when “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)” Jesus signals the dawning of the New Creation by building on what was done in the beginning. Just as He brings life to Adam, so He brings new life to all who believe on His name.

The Holy Spirit now breathes into every believer. He is our breath of life and a cleansing wind that blows through us, carrying off sin and decay. He inspires us to listen to God’s Word and to follow His ways — and we note that the Latin spiritus, from which we take our word “spirit” also means breath, as in “respiration.” So when the Spirit “inspires” us, He breathes into us, not air to support physical life, but Himself, in order to support spiritual life and to preserve us unto eternal life.

Text: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19–31

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Breathless. Includes reading of the Gospel, Collect for the Word, Luther’s Evening Prayer, and Benediction.

Audio: Click Breathless for MP3 audio of the sermon.

Other Readings: Psalm 148; Acts 5:29–42; 1 Peter 1:3–9

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home