I learned something fascinating this week about crocodiles. Do you know that crocodiles are conscious breathers? Unlike human beings, they cannot breathe when they are unconscious. That means you cannot sedate them. The moment they lose consciousness, they stop breathing and soon die.
Since crocodiles can’t breathe when they are unconscious, they can’t sleep because if they fall asleep, they die. Then, how do they sleep? Crocodiles are also known as unihemispheric sleepers. That means only half of their brain goes to sleep taking turns. So, they are only half asleep when they do sleep so that they can keep breathing. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?
Along the line, I learned that human beings are unconscious breathers. That means we breathe without awareness—we can be asleep and still breathe, or sedated and still breathe. That makes me think about a lot of things we do unconsciously, such as our digestive system working without our consciousness. Our digestives system involves thousands of parts and procedures. That alone is already mind-boggling.
In fact, human consciousness is only the tip of the iceberg. We think our brain is only inside our heads, but our digestive system has its own brain. Our heart also has its own brain, and that’s why it can continue to function even after the brain is dead. If our entire body relies on our head-brain to function, it will be overheated and fried.
Like the iceberg underneath the surface, our subconscious mind is much larger and more powerful than our conscious mind. What’s even more fascinating is that we can tap into our subconscious minds. It’s both fascinating and frustrating because how do we tap into the subconscious mind if it is subconscious?
Before Jesus went to the cross, he told the disciples that he was going to the Father, and they will continue his mission on earth, and that they would do greater things than he did. Have you ever thought about doing greater things than Jesus did? Jesus expects you to be superhuman, but how? He said that he would send us the Holy Spirit to empower us to accomplish it.
Of course, Jesus was not talking about that we would be more powerful than him, but he meant that since we have more time on earth and more numerous, we have more opportunities to accomplish more than he did.
Now, after the resurrection, Jesus gave his disciples what he promised—the power of the Holy Spirit to do the greater things. The question is, how do we harness the power? The good news is that Jesus gave us a clue as to how we can interface with the Head Office. That’s through our breath.
This message is vital because, without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are helplessly struggling and swimming in this sea of suffering like other humans. Since we have the Great Commission to fulfill to make this world a better place, we cannot ignore the power of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s begin!
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper. You are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, and the scripture lesson is from the Gospel according to John 20:19-31. [Listen to the Word of the Lord.]
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31)
[This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
Do you know why the authority crucified Jesus? It was due to fear. Fear makes us do foolish things. Yoda said,
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ~Yoda
They also cast their fear on the disciples. Fear breeds fear. The Bible says,
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (v. 19).
The disciples locked the doors because they feared the authorities. The first thing Jesus did to cast out their fear was by his greeting, “Peace be with you.” On the surface, it might sound like the common Jewish greetings of “Shalom!” but it was more than that because Jesus promised them a special kind of peace before he went to the cross. He said,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it fear.” (John 14:27).
It’s the peace that can overcome fear. So, when Jesus said, “Peace be with you,” the disciples remembered its profound meaning. In the context of John 14, Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit that would guide them, bring them peace, help them overcome fear, and empower them to do extraordinary things. Now Jesus delivered his promise through his breath.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (v. 21-22).
The word “Spirit” both in Greek (Pneuma) and in Hebrew (Ruach) means “breath,” “air,” or “wind.” So, the Holy Spirit means the “Holy Breath.” The breath of Jesus Christ is in the air for the believers to breathe in. It’s a fascinating truth. Many traditions around the world have discovered the power of breath. Now, it’s delivered personally by Jesus Christ.
So, when you encounter fear, the first thing you need to do is breathe the Holy Spirit. Just as we have different radio frequencies in the airwaves, there are different spirits or “breaths” in the air. God’s Spirit has been in the air since Genesis. Even before the creation, the Bible says,
“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2).
How do you breathe in the Holy Breath? How do you tune in to the Holy Spirit in the noisy airwaves? The answer is simple—faith. I learned this from Bill Bright, the founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ. You breathe with faith to invite the Holy Spirit.
It makes sense, isn’t it? Since Jesus delivered the Holy Spirit through his breath, how would his disciples receive it except through breathing? Again, what’s the difference between breathing the Holy Spirit and regular breath? Their faith. Especially at this moment when they saw the risen Christ, their faith is highly elevated.
It’s the same as prayer. What’s the difference between a believer’s prayer and a wishful mumbling? The Bible says it’s faith. You and I, who believe in the risen Christ, have the faith that can tune in to the Holy Spirit among the noisy airwaves—or noisy spiritual waves.
Some people make the filling of the Holy Spirit too complicated. You don’t need to speak in tongues, bounce on the church floor, or hang on the chandelier to be filled with the Holy Spirit. All you need is to breathe the Holy Breath with faith—nothing more and nothing less.
So, whenever your heart is troubled, breathe the Holy Breath with faith. Better yet, do it in combination with prayer, and the peace of God will be with you. Paul said,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Php 4:6–7).
The Holy Spirit not only gives us peace but also the power to do God’s work. God doesn’t just promise us peace but also provides the ability to transform the world and even judge the perpetrators. Jesus said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (v. 22b-23).
That is a lot of power—a god-like authority. It means we could send the perpetrators to hell if we choose to. Jesus has made us highly dangerous. Our forgiveness now has a different meaning when we have the power to punish perpetrators. There is a big difference between forgiving others because you have no choice and doing so despite you having the choice.
When Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained,” it means our forgiveness is equal to his forgiveness on the cross. When Jesus forgave those who crucified him, he did not forgive as a powerless victim but as someone who could send them to hell. That kind of forgiveness is significant.
By giving you the authority to condemn, Jesus wants you to do the same thing he did, forgiving people despite having the power to harm them, not as a powerless victim.
He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (v. 21). The Father has sent him to do what? Quoting Isaiah, Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19).
So, our assignment is to relieve the poor and empower the powerless, not to judge the oppressors. Yet, Jesus gave us the power to choose.
Now, there’s another problem among the disciples—doubt. Doubt is a form of mental fear, the inability to believe the unimaginable. It says,
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, 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 the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (v. 24-25).
Thomas was known as the Twin because he was so close to Jesus that people called him a twin of Jesus. Don’t you think it is disturbing when your twin brother doubts you?
If you have the chance to read the Gospel According to Thomas, which was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, you will discover that Thomas took copious notes of Jesus’ teaching. His Gospel is unique and applicable.
Yet, he was so focused on the practicality of Jesus’ teaching that he missed the prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection. So, he said that he wouldn’t believe it until he touched the crucifixion wounds on Jesus. Seeing is believing. However, Jesus said that believing without seeing is more blessed.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (v. 29).
Even though many called him Doubting Thomas, I would call him Scientific Thomas. If I were among the disciples, I might be like Thomas, who loves to see and touch the evidence. Many things in the Bible are mysterious to me, and I love to see the scientific discoveries that confirm them.
If we interpret this in the context of Jesus’ entire teaching, Jesus was not asking us to believe blindly but to realize there is much to see beyond our eyes can see. If we only rely on our five senses, we will see only the tip of the iceberg, failing to harness what’s under the surface.
Today’s scientists have discovered that the more we know, the more we realize we know so little. If you wait until seeing the evidence before taking action, you might waste your lives without fulfilling your calling.
The power of the Holy Spirit is beyond our consciousness, but Jesus showed us that the interface between our consciousness and the Holy Spirit is our breath. I recently discovered some scientific publications on breath and its healing effects and vital power, which are fascinating.
Again, I sound like Doubting Thomas, who relies on scientific evidence to confirm the mysteries. Let us not waste our lives waiting for confirmation because we can see only vaguely on this side of eternity.
Let’s breathe the Holy Spirit with every breath we take as our unceasing prayer, tap into the power Jesus has given us, fulfill the calling to do extraordinary things, and accomplish the Great Commission.
That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound happiness.