Tuesday, 6 April 2021
Title: A Fresh Breeze at Easter
By: Pastor Isaac Yim
Text John 20:22-23 (NLT): Then he (Jesus) breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
On the first Easter Sunday evening, the disciples were gathered in Jerusalem in a room with the door shut when Jesus appeared in their midst. It was here where Jesus gave them words of assurance, “Peace be with you.” Jesus also commissioned these 10 apostles (Thomas was absent) to continue His ministry that He has begun, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” At the same time Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit who will help the disciples in their ministry, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus and the Holy Spirit restore their shaken faith, empower the disciples, and give them boldness and confidence to proclaim a power message of the Risen Saviour.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for the Spirit of God is “Ruah,” which literally means “breath.” In Genesis chapter one, “…the wind of God was hovering on the surface of the waters.” The word “wind” is “Ruah,” or breath. This word “Ruah” used in the New Testament is written in Greek as “Pnauma.” In the book of Acts 2, “…like the roaring of a mighty windstorm” in Greek is “Pnauma.” An example of the breath of God at work is the formation of the church. In creation when God breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, he became a living being (Gen. 2:7). Jesus – having gone through death on the cross, burial and resurrection – now bestows the Holy Spirit on His disciples to carry out His mission in all His power and fullness.
The Holy Spirit – the breath of God – is a powerful and unpredictable force. We know hurricane and typhoon can bring indescribable damage to lives and properties. But wind surfers will ride on the winds. Sailors cannot get anywhere without the power of the wind.
Jesus knew that the task He wants the apostles and disciples to get done before He returns, must depend on the wind of the Mighty Holy Spirt. I thank God for Pantai Baptist Church for all the faithful Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses and Pastors and all Care Group leaders. We go around day after day giving our best to serve. We will certainly carry out all our assigned tasks. We will call. We will visit. We will teach and preach right doctrines. Everyone knows their job. But I often discover our lives are drab, colourless without significant purpose and direction. We often become tired, discouraged and need to take a break. A few even leave PBC. My earnest desire is that Jesus will send a fresh breeze or a strong typhoon of the breath of God through our church so that the dried bones will come alive. What if the Holy Spirit comes? Are we receptive to the breath of the power of God, and not be afraid to let it blow us where it wills?
Jesus empowered the disciples to proclaim a powerful message that will impact the hearers. John 20:23 declares, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Many believe this verse; the disciples will either forgive or retain sins by means of the proclamation of the gospel. People will be judged by their acceptance or rejection of the message. In the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about sin as unbelief; or the unwillingness to accept the truth of God as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. Sin is not about moral failings; primarily it is an inability or refusal to recognize God’s revelation when confronted by it. The word “forgive” is better translated as “set free” or “release.” In that sense, we are to go about in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the saving power of the Resurrected Christ. Those who receive this message will be “forgiven” or “set free” of sin and condemnation. Jesus has given us this unique authority. As a church if we fail to exercise such authority, we will not be able to play the role in delivering people from that which keep them from experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus offers.
Prayer for Today
- Lord, my life is dried up like sand in the desert. May Your Holy Spirit come and drench my heart. My life and ministry are running on an empty tank. Fill it up, Lord, with Your Holy Spirit.
- Come Holy Spirit, sweep over us and over our Church. May we experience freshness and power in living and serving with joy and gladness.
- Lord, may Your Word continue to assure us; may Your Mission – “so send I you” – be our focus and direction; may Your Holy Spirit fill us continually for meaningful service with power and authority for You.
- Lord, we Thank You, that You did not leave us alone but You send us Your Advocate and Helper, the Holy Spirit, to walk alongside us.
Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
在第一个复活节晚上，门徒聚集在耶路撒冷一间关着门的房间里，这时耶稣出现在他们中间。正是在这里，耶稣给了门徒确据：“愿你们平安。” 耶稣也差遣这10位使徒(多马不在)继续祂已经开始的事工，“父怎样差遣了我，我也照样差遣你们。” 同时，耶稣也赐下圣灵帮助门徒完成他们的事工：“你们受圣灵”。耶稣与圣灵恢复门徒动摇的信心，授权门徒，并给他们勇气和信心去宣扬复活救主的大能的信息。
在旧约，上帝的灵的希伯来语是 “Ruah”，字面意思是 “气息”。在创世记第一章，“……神的灵（现代中文译本 – 或译 ‘由上帝发出的风’）运行在水面上。” “风” 这个词是 “Ruah”，或气息。新约中使用的 “Ruah” 这个词在希腊语中写成 “Pnauma”。在使徒行传第二章，“……好像一阵大风” 在希腊语中是 “Pnauma”。上帝的气息在发挥作用的一个例子是教会的形成。在创造中，当上帝将生命的气息吹进人的鼻孔时，他就成了有灵的活人(创世记2:7)。耶稣 – 在十字架上经历了死亡、埋葬和复活之后 – 现在把圣灵赐给祂的门徒，让他们以祂完备的能力与丰富去执行祂的使命。
圣灵 – 上帝的气息 – 是一股强大而不可预知的力量。我们知道飓风和台风会给生命和财产带来难以形容的损失；但风帆冲浪者会乘风而行。没有风的力量，水手哪儿也去不了。
耶稣授权门徒去宣讲一个将会影响听者的强而有力的信息。约翰福音20:23 “你们赦免谁的罪，谁的罪就赦免了；你们留下谁的罪，谁的罪就留下了。” 许多人相信这节经文。门徒藉着福音的传扬，或是赦免，或是保留罪过；人们将通过他们接受或拒绝福音的信息被审判。在约翰福音中，耶稣说罪就是不信，或者不愿意接受上帝在祂儿子耶稣基督里所启示的真理。罪与道德上的失败无关；罪主要是当面对上帝的启示时不能或拒绝承认。“赦免” 一词较好的翻译为 “释放” 或 “使自由”。从这个意义上说，我们要凭靠圣灵的能力去分享复活的基督的拯救能力。那些接受这信息的人将从罪与定罪被 “赦免” 或 “释放”。耶稣给了我们这个独特的权柄。作为一间教会，如果我们不能行使这样的权柄，我们就不能发挥作用：使人脱离拦阻他们体验耶稣所赐的丰盛生活的障碍。
3.主啊，愿祢的话语继续安慰我们；愿祢的使命 – “我也照样差遣你们。” – 成为我们的重点和方向；愿祢的圣灵不断充满我们，使我们有能力和权柄作有意义的服事。