Summary: #4 in Narnia series, #9 in Take a Hike: Walking in the Spirit series. This is about Jesus breathing on His disciples, and what that means.
John 20:22 – Narnia: A New Breath of Life
Tonight we are finishing our dual series. We are wrapping up our series on walking in the Spirit, which we started in September. And we are finishing up our series on the Chronicles of Narnia, this being the 4th and final sermon for that.
I’d like to look at one main thought tonight, and it is found in John 20:22.
Before I go to explain this verse, let me recap what has happened so far in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Four children end up in another world called Narnia. One of the children, Edmund, betrays the others to the White Witch Jadis. Edmund is rescued, but there is a fee: someone has to pay for his betrayal. Aslan does this. He gives himself to Jadis, and in a horrible scene, Jadis takes a stone knife and kills Aslan the lion. Then she runs off to gather her armies to attack the remaining forces of good. With no leader, they are powerless against her.
Now, Lucy and Susan, the two human sisters, run up to the Stone Table, the altar upon which Aslan was killed. They shower his lifeless body with tears and affection. By and by, mice come and gnaw away at the ropes that held him fast.
As the sun begins to rise, Lucy and Susan walk away just a bit, only to clear their heads. In that moment, there is a tremendous noise. They turn around, and Aslan is gone. Not only that, but the altar where his body had lain, is broken in half. They wonder what it all means, when they hear a voice from behind them. It is Aslan, very much alive, risen from the dead. It is a beautiful scene as the fully alive lion plays and frolics with the 2 girls who love him so much.
Well, the time comes for Aslan to set things right. The girls grab hold of his mane, and Aslan bounds off to the White Witch’s castle. You see, part of the fear that Jadis has had over the people of Narnia was that she has the power to turn creatures to stone. So, as she defeats her enemies, she brings their frozen bodies to her castle, where she keeps them on display of her victory. This is the scene we find on p167-168.
I find it a beautiful picture that the breath of the lion brought the stone statues back to life. It reminds me of our passage tonight. The resurrected Jesus has shown up behind locked doors, appearing to His disciples, with the exception of Thomas. He wishes them peace in the middle of their fears, doubts and confusion. He tells them that they are to be His witnesses of His resurrection to all people. Then He breathes on them and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Now, this is not the 1st time in the Scriptures that we see God breathing into or upon someone. But there is something strangely different about it, too. Most times that we read God breathed into or upon someone, the person was not yet alive, or already dead. In our passage tonight, the people Jesus breathed upon were not dead. Let me show you what I mean.
In Genesis 2:4-7, we read this: “When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Now, understand that Adam was made but not yet alive. Then the breath of God entered his lungs and he was alive, or quickened, as the KJV often says.
There’s the really neat passage in Ezekiel 37:1-14. This is a vision that the prophet Ezekiel has. He ends up in a valley of bones. They were dry, which means that they had been there a long time, long since picked clean by scavengers like vultures. These people were not recently dead – they were a long time dead.
Ezekiel spoke to them and they came together with tendons on their bones. That is, they had meat on their bones again, assuming that means all the internal organs as well. Then they had skin covering them, so that instead of dry bones, they were complete bodies.
They were still not alive, though. Ezekiel prophesied again, and wind came from all around, and blew into them, and the bodies came to life. They stood up and became an army.
Now, what’s important to know is that a certain Hebrew word can be translated in 3 ways. This word, “ruach”, can be translated with “breath”, or “spirit”, or “wind”. It leads to a little confusion, wondering exactly what was meant. Did God mean for the bodies to be filled with wind? More likely breath, but perhaps spirit.