Breath of God

The Holy Spirit has been vital since the beginning. Genesis 1:1-2 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surfaces of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” 


A little further along Genesis 2:7 explains, “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” 


There are many verses throughout the Bible that compare the Holy Spirit to a wind, breeze, or breath (Acts 2:2, John 3:8, John 20:22), so we can assume that this breath that God breathed in us, is in fact His Spirit. Unfortunately, we know how the story goes, and by trying to be like God we caused separation between us and Him, and in addition separation between us and the Holy Spirit.


Now, the Spirit is still active throughout the time between this separation and Jesus’ arrival, and I encourage you to go look into this (The Spirit aids Moses for example), but I’m going to focus on the events during Jesus’ time on earth where the Holy Spirit changed the tides of the future dramatically.


The first event related to Jesus where the Holy Spirit plays a major role is in Mary conceiving Him.


“The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘See the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God with us.” - Matthew 1:18-23


I know most of us already know about this miracle, but it is such a vital story. The Holy Spirit’s work is what allowed for Jesus to enter the world. It is so important that an angel appeared to make sure that Joseph actually followed through in marrying her, and he specifically told Joseph to name Him Jesus and explained why!


God didn’t want Mary and Joseph (or us!) to miss the fact that Jesus was going to bridge that gap between us and Him, and he even uses Jesus’ name to clarify that it is Him, God, who is with us through Jesus.

I included the last couple of verses of this section as well, because all of this was prophesied to happen, which is also a work of the Spirit- revealing prophecies to us. The event of Mary conceiving Jesus ties together everything from the beginning to the end, and the Holy Spirit and God were also in each part.


The next event I want to point out happens in Matthew 3:16-17:


“After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: ‘This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!’”


The Spirit of God descended like a dove onto Jesus! How incredible that would have been to see! Once again, the Trinity becomes very apparent, because God’s voice is also audibly heard declaring Jesus as His beloved Son. This is an amazing moment where what Jesus preaches about His connection to God the Father and God the Spirit is so visibly and audibly seen, and this marks the formal entrance of Jesus into His messianic ministry.


Following right after this passage, is another in Matthew. Chapter 4 verses 1 through 11 tell us that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. While in this wilderness, Jesus is faced with many temptations related to earthly needs: to turn stones into bread, to be rescued supernaturally from death, and to receive all the kingdoms of the world.


With each temptation, Jesus responds with Scripture to defend Himself from the attacks. Jesus’ experience in the wilderness proves His capability of overcoming temptation that Adam and Eve were unable to do.


In addition, this shows us a prime example of how we are to have confidence in God’s promises and to fight the enemy with what is actual truth in order to persevere past temporary satisfactions. We have specific examples of the temptations that Jesus faced on earth just as we do, and this was only made possible through the Holy Spirit guiding Him to the wilderness.


Throughout Jesus’ time on earth and all of His messages and miracles, He continuously explains that all of the work He is doing is through the Spirit and from God the Father, but the people continue to doubt Him and accuse Him. In Matthew 12, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man, and the Pharisees accuse Him of being empowered by the Devil. The following is His response:


“Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.” - Matthew 12:31-32


In summary, Jesus is explaining that those who reject Him can be forgiven if they repent and accept Him, but attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan would not be forgiven. Jesus is foreshadowing here his future crucifixion, but He is also once again giving credit to the Holy Spirit for all of his miracles. He is showing us how to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through, which leads into Acts 1:7-9:


“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.”


Jesus explains here that He will no longer be with them (His followers) on earth, but that He will send the Holy Spirit to reside in them.


Just a couple of verses later in Acts 2:1-42, they all gather together and “Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech,” - Acts 2:2-4 


I mean, WOW. Jews from all nations were there, since it was the day of Pentecost, and they overheard all of them overcome with the Holy Spirit. Every single one of them could understand what they were saying in their own language. Peter explains to the crowd that had gathered how this is possible through God’s Spirit and finishes by saying, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” - Acts 2:36


The following verses say that “when they heard this, they came under deep conviction,” (Acts 2:37) and Peter explained how they were to repent in the name of Jesus Christ in order to receive forgiveness of their sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Just reading this gives me goosebumps. What a HUGE way the Holy Spirit moved not long at all after Jesus ascended into heaven.


I can only imagine how cool it would have been to be in a room with all of your friends and fellow followers of Jesus and all of a sudden you are all overcome with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It also reads, “and that day about 3,000 people were added to them,” (Acts 2:41). Talk about a revolution!

So what are we to understand from all of this? One, the Holy Spirit has been active from the beginning of time and all the way through to today, even though it has looked different from being amidst us in the Garden of Eden, to speaking prophecies through and giving guidance to Abraham and Moses and their descendents, to being the very power of all of Jesus’ miracles, to now dwelling in all who repent and ask for forgiveness in Jesus. Two, the Holy Spirit is a vital part of changing the tides throughout our history, but it is the combination of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God the Father that create the whole, and all are always at work. Three, as followers of Jesus we have access to the Holy Spirit at all times, because it dwells inside of us! We are Jesus’ disciples, just as the original twelve were, and we are called to go out and share the good news.


The Holy Spirit is always moving, so be sure to ask how you can be a part of what it is doing. It is good to know the history of the Holy Spirit, so that you understand its power and how it shows all of the characteristics of God just as much as God the Son and God the Father.


However, I encourage you to also seek out specific ways that you can be a vessel for the Spirit- in all things: relationships, work, school, organizations you’re involved in. It might be asking for God to reveal a specific spiritual gift that you can be using for other people’s good and for His glory, or it might be asking for the Spirit to reveal opportunities in your everyday life where you can choose to bear specific fruits of the Spirit. Whatever it is, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, and be sure to reflect on your day. Oftentimes I realize that the Spirit was working through me and I was bearing certain fruits in different situations throughout my day, and it is super important to harvest those fruits and recognize how you are being a vessel.


God is doing amazing things, and you get the chance to be a part of it every day.

Author | Hallie Turner

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