A Power or a Person?

John

A Power or a Person?

June 20th, 1965 @ 10:50 AM

John 20:22

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
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A POWER OR A PERSON?

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 20:22

6-20-65    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Pentecost: a Power or a Person, or The Holy Spirit: a Power or a Person?  After I had finished the delivery of the message last Sunday, one of our dear members who loves the Word of God came to me and said, “I do not believe that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost; I think the Holy Spirit came in John 20:22; and Pentecost was but an outpouring of the power, but the gift of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Holy Spirit came in John 20:22.”  And then this member read to me that passage, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” [John 20:22].

Now may I read the context of that passage?  “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week” [John 20:19], it was Sunday night, the Lord met with His disciples at night, and He met with them Sunday night, the first day of the week; then the following Sunday night He met with them again [John 20:26-31].  That is one reason I love to open the doors of the church and have God’s people gather together Sunday night, the Lord met with His disciples at night.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Shalom

that is the greeting used in the East today, Shalom—Peace to you.

And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side.  Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

Then said Jesus to them again, Shalom: . . . as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you.

And when He had saith this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:

Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.

[John 20:19-23] 

And this member said, “That is when the Holy Spirit was given; when the Lord breathed on them and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit.’  And Pentecost was but an outpouring of the power of the presence of God” [Acts 2:1-4].  In that interpretation and in that persuasion, many of the great scholars of the world concur.  For example, Arthur Pink, who wrote in his three volumes, The Exposition of the Gospel of John—this marvelous conservative scholar, who loves the Word of God, writes in volume three, page 287, and I quote his sentence: “What happened at Pentecost was the baptism of power, not the coming of the Spirit to indwell us.”  I quote again from The Bible Commentary, in the New Testament series, volume two, page 295; these wonderful scholars of the Anglican Church write this:  I quote: “The Spirit which the Lord imparted to them was the Holy Spirit as dwelling in Him.  To regard the words in Acts as a promise only, and a symbol of the future gift, is wholly arbitrary and unnatural.”  I have just chosen these two as typical of marvelous biblical scholars who say that, “The Holy Spirit was given here, in John 20:22, when the Lord breathed on them and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’  And at Pentecost, it was not the coming of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit came here, was given here, but Pentecost was but an outpouring and a demonstration of the power of the presence of God.”

Well, what do we think of that?  I have a very definite conviction.  And though it is but an interpretation on my part, after study and consideration, I am much convinced that the message that I deliver this morning, an exposition of this passage, is the truth of God.  It is the truth of God to me.  You see, these interpreters make a distinction between the presence and the power: that the Holy Spirit was given here in John 20:22, and that the power and the demonstration was at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4].  Now there are two things that bother me in that interpretation, and the first one is this:  it is hard for me to reconcile that the Holy Spirit was given here when the Lord breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” [John 20:22].  And this word that I read in the last chapter of the Book of Luke, and our Lord on the Mount of Olivet before His ascension into heaven, our Lord said, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” [Luke 24:49].  “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until He come.”  What is that Promise of the Father?  It is very plainly delineated here in the Word of the Lord.  For Jesus said,

I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete. . . .

Even the Spirit of truth. . . .

But the Comforter—

the Paraclete—

which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name. . . .

[John 14:16-17, 26]

The Promise of the Father is the coming of the Holy Spirit [John 14:26].  And yet, after the Lord said these words and He breathed on them and saith, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22], after the Lord said those words, on Mount Olivet—before His ascension into glory—when He extended His hands to bless them, He said to them, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until. . .” [Luke 24:49].

Now, that same thing I find in the first chapter of the Book of Acts.  “And, being assembled together with them”—on the top of Mount Olivet—“commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit not many days hence” [Acts 1:4-5].  Now, to me, the Lord plainly says on the Mount of Olivet, just before His ascension into heaven, that they were to tarry, to wait in Jerusalem until the Promise of the Father come, until the baptism of the Holy Spirit [Luke 24:49].  Well, that is the first thing that bothers me.  When they say, these scholars say, that the Holy Spirit was given in John 20:22, then what does it mean when the Lord says to His disciples, “Now you tarry in the city until the Promise of the Holy Spirit is come?” [Luke 24:49]  Now what does that mean if He has already come, and the disciples received Him when the Lord breathed on them? [John 20:22].

Then I have a second thing that troubles me in that interpretation.  When these scholars say that the Holy Spirit came in John 20:22; when the Lord breathed on them, there is another thing that troubles me, and that thing is psychological.  When you separate the presence from the power—when it is said that the presence of the Holy Spirit was bestowed, that the Holy Spirit came when the Lord breathed upon them [John 20:22], and then that the power of the Holy Ghost came at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4]—there is a psychological thing there that bothers me.  And I am not saying and I am not advocating that we interpret the Word of God by our psychological persuasions; but I do say, that when you do a thing like that, you fall into and give countenance to an error that we fall into so commonly already, and that is this: it is the easiest thing in human nature to persuade ourselves that the Holy Spirit somehow is not person, and not personality, and not deity, and not God, but that the Holy Spirit is somehow an “it,” the Holy Spirit is somehow an impersonal power and effulgence of influence.  That is Sabellianism.  That is Arianism.  That has been one of the heresies of the church from the very earliest centuries, and it is easy for us to fall into that error.  It is common for us to think of power in the neuter gender, an “it.”  The great power of electricity is an “it”; it, the power of electricity.  The great power of gravity is an “it”; the power of gravity.  The power of a great hurricane and a mighty wind is an “it.”  And it is easy for us to fall into that error regarding the power of God.  Somehow the presence of God in the Holy Spirit, somehow the power of God in our midst becomes an “it,” a neuter gender.  And it is easy for us to de-deify, to de-personalize the Holy Spirit of God.  He is an “it!”

That also is countenanced in one of the mistranslations here in the King James Version.  In the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans and the sixteenth verse, you have it translated, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” [Romans 8:16].  There the Holy Spirit, even in the King James Version of the Bible, is called an “it”—”the Holy Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”  Now where did that come from?  It came from the difficulty of translating accurately and closely a language into another language, and no two languages are alike.  And you cannot translate accurately one language into another, and this is a good instance of it.  In the English language, everything we say, every substantive we use has a gender; it has a sex.  Everything that we use as a substantive, as a subject, is either male, a “he”; or a female, a “she”; or no sex at all, no gender at all, an “it.”  And whenever we refer to anything in the English language, we are talking about a “he,” we are talking about a “him,” we are talking about a “her,” or we are talking about an “it.”  Now that is the English language.  But there are other languages that do not do that at all.  There are languages that have grammatical gender; German is one of them.  In the German language a girl is an “it.” That is the beatingest thing to us you have ever heard in your life—”it.”  In the articles of the German language, die would be feminine, der would be masculine, and das is neuter.  And in the German language it is das Mädchendas, neuter, girl.

That same thing is in the Greek language.  The Greek language also has a grammatical gender, and pneuma, “breath, wind, spirit” is neuter.  It’s not he pneuma, feminine; or ho pneuma, masculine; but it’s to pneuma, neuter.  In John 3:8: “The pneuma bloweth where it listeth, thou hearest the sound thereof, you cannot tell whether it comes, or whether it goes: so is every one that is born of the pneuma.”  And the pneuma, “the breath”—like the pneumatic tire—the wind is taken as a symbol in the spiritual teaching of the Word of God.  It’s taken as a symbol of the Spirit.  And John 3:8 is typical of that.  “The breath, the wind blows where it listeth . . . so is every one that is born of the Spirit”; the wind, the Spirit.  Now, in that grammatical gender, Paul writing correctly wrote, “The Spirit itself,” that’s grammar, that’s Greek grammar.  But it has nothing at all to do with the revelation of God, because the Holy Spirit, without exception, is referred to by “He,” always by “He.”  “I will pray the Father, He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever” [John 14:16].  “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” [John 16:13].  In the Holy Bible, without exception, there is personality and there is individuality; there is emotion and will and intelligence; and there is deity always ascribed to the Holy Spirit of God.  He is never an “it”; but He is always a “He,” and a “Him,” and a “Himself.”  And I’m just pointing out to you that when you interpret the coming of the Holy Spirit in the twentieth chapter of John, when the Lord breathed on them [John 20:22], and then separate that from the power and the demonstration that we saw at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4], it lends itself to that psychological error into which we fall anyway, of referring to the presence of God and the power of God and the Holy Spirit of God as an impersonal neuter “it.”

Well, having said those things that trouble me when this is interpreted that way; as if the Holy Spirit came here when He breathed upon them [John 20:22], and Pentecost was but an infilling of power [Acts 2:1-4]; now having said the things that trouble me, let me expound this passage here.  And may I say, to me what truly it means, what it refers to, what happened here, and what happened at Pentecost?

And Jesus stood in the midst and said, Shalom . . . as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

[John 20:19, 21- 22] 

Now there are two Greek words here, and around them is found the whole meaning of this thing that came to pass when the Lord was raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples: “And when He had said this, He enephusēsen,” enephusesēn.  That is an aorist of emphusaō, “to breathe upon”; and the aorist tense in the Greek refers to one instance, a pinpoint.  Not that it happened again and again, over and over again, but the aoristic tense in the Greek system of stems of verbs and the conjugation of verbs refers to one thing, one time, once it happened.  And the Lord appearing to His disciples, and the Lord breathed on them, emphusaō, “He breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22].

You get an idea of what was happening in the word that our Lord said before He breathed on them:  “As so—as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you” [John 20:21].  And when the Lord began His ministry, He first was baptized by the Holy Spirit.  At His baptism, when He began His messianic ministry, when He was raised up out of the watery grave by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, there appeared to Him the Holy Spirit as a dove, coming from heaven and lighting upon Him [Matthew 3:16-17].  And in the power of the Holy Spirit He was driven into the wilderness [Matthew 4:1]; and in the power of the Holy Spirit He went to Nazareth to deliver His first inaugural sermon [Luke 4:16-21]; and in the power of the Holy Spirit He did His mighty works [Matthew 12:28]; and in the power of the Holy Spirit He was raised from the dead [Romans 1:4, 8:11].  The Lord began His ministry in a great demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit [Matthew 3:16].  Now He says, “As My Father has sent Me, even so send I you” [John 20:21].  The disciples are to begin their ministry in a great baptism of the Holy Spirit; in a great descending of the Holy Spirit; in a great demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit; and in the power of the Holy Spirit, they are to begin their work of witnessing to the grace of God in Christ Jesus [Acts 1:8]. 

Now when He breathed on them—when He breathed on them [John 20:22], it was the impartation of the Spirit of the Lord by which He was able to do His miraculous works [Matthew 12:28], and by which He was raised from the dead [Romans 1:4, 8:11].  It is the impartation of the Spirit of Jesus into their souls and into their lives; and it gave them a great faith, and a great cohesiveness, and a great patience in waiting for the Spirit of God when He came.  All of that is entailed when the Lord breathed upon His disciples.  And it was a great symbol and a marvelous earnest of what would soon take place in the marvelous visitation from heaven that we call the Pentecostal outpouring [Acts 2:1-4].  Now I want to show you how that word enephusēsen, the exact word, of emphusaō, how it is used.  Nowhere else in the New Testament will you find it.  Nowhere else out of all of the thousands and thousands of Greek words that you find it here in this Greek New Testament, there is not one other instance of that word, enephusēsen, emphusaō; there is not another instance of it, not in the whole New Testament.  But you will find it in the Greek Bible that the disciples used.  In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bible that the disciples used, you will find that word.  May I read it to you?  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” [Genesis 2:7].  There is that identical and exact word.  “And when the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, He breathed—He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” [Genesis 2:7].  In the original creation, the breath of God poured into the soul of Adam that likeness that raised him above and differentiated him from the principle of animal life all around him.  God made the animals [Genesis 1:20-25]; God made life, but when He made Adam, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living, a quickened soul [Genesis 2:7].  Now, what happened in the original creation happens also in the new creation.  By a symbolic act, the Lord breathes upon His disciples, and they are to be quickened, and they are to become living, they are to become powerful and demonstrable in the presence of the Spirit of God that they are to receive.  And it is a symbolic act, what the Lord did when He breathed upon His disciples: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22] was a symbolic act; an earnest of what should happen in those days after they had waited [Acts 1:4], and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4].  And I find that pattern of God’s way and life all through the whole Bible, just that thing itself; first the breath, then the outpouring of the power; first the stillness [Acts 1:4], then the great demonstration at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4].  I find it all through the Word of God.

 In the life of Elijah, covering his face with his hands and covering his head with his mantle, in the still small voice, God spake to Elijah [1 Kings 19:12-13]; and then the glorious chariot of gold and the whirlwind of fire that took him to heaven! [2 Kings 2:11].  I find in the life of Moses: first the stillness of a backside of the desert where he was alone as a shepherd, and the bush that burned unconsumed, and God speaking to Moses out of the silence of that burning bush [Exodus 3:1-2]; and then the great confrontation with Pharaoh and the demonstration of the mighty miracles! [Exodus 7-12].  I find it in the life of Gideon: first the dew on the fleece, in the quiet of the evening, the distillation of the atmosphere that covered the fleece [Judges 6:36-40]; and then the blowing of the trumpets and the breaking of the pitchers! [Judges 7:15-23].  I find it in the life of David: first, as a boy, the green pastures and the still waters [1 Samuel 16:11-13; Psalms 23:2]; and then the mighty confrontation with Goliath, the champion of the uncircumcised Philistines! [1 Samuel 17:32-51].  I find it in the life of Daniel: first, down on his knees before God, with his face open toward the Holy City, pouring out his soul to God [Daniel 6:10]; and then the mighty stopping of the mouths of the lions! [Daniel 6:14-22].  I find it in the life of Nehemiah: first, his weeping before God in silent agony [Nehemiah 1:4]; and then the building up of the walls in Jerusalem! [Nehemiah 3:1-6:19] I find it in the life of the apostle Paul: first, the three silent years in Arabia [Galatians 1:17-18]; and then the mighty witness for God as he stands in Damascus, in Jerusalem, in Cilicia, and around the cities of the Roman Empire! [Acts 9:19-13, 13:7-28:31] I find it in the life of the sainted apostle John: in exile on the isle of Patmos, alone in a cave left to die, to starve of exposure [Revelation 1:9]; and then the glorious opening of heavens as a scroll is rolled back and the apocalyptic vision of the whole, marvelous thrust of history, until the consummation of the age! [Revelation 1:10-22:21].  That’s exactly what is here: first, the breathing upon the disciples by the Lord [John 20:22]—first, the breathing on the disciples by the Lord; and then the mighty demonstration, open at Pentecost when the Lord’s Spirit was poured out without measure into this earth! [Acts 2:1-4].  Well that’s on that enephusesen.  Did you ever think there was that much in a word like that?  Well, there is.  This Book is just like an unfathomable ocean.

Now, we must hasten.  We must hasten.  We’re just half way through this: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22].  “Receive you”—labete; there is another aorist, and this time it is an imperative.  It is a second aoristic [active] imperative—labete the Holy Spirit.  Now, I want to show you what that word labete means.  Here is an instance—here is an instance of it translated both ways; it has two meanings.  In John 10:18, now I’m going to read it.  The Lord speaking of Himself, He says, “I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again”—labete.  There it is, that word labein, “to take” it again.  “This commandment have I received of My Father” [John 10:18]labein.  There it is again, the same identical word; the second aorist of lambanō; and it means two things.  It means “to take”: “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”; and it means “to receive”: “this commandment have I received”—the same identical word—”have I received of My Father” [John 10:18].  And you cannot translate it any other way except the way it is translated right here: first, of “take”; and second, “to receive” [John 10:18].  Now, let me turn back to my passage here in John 20:22.  “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, labete the Holy Spirit.”  Let’s translate it first, “take”—it is an imperative command.  “Take ye the Holy Spirit.”  Now, that would mean that the disciples were not altogether passive.  They were not like chips of wood.  They were not like dead stumps.  They were not like limbs falling off.  They are alive themselves, and they are filled with the love, and adoration, and expectancy, and longing of God themselves.  “Take the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22]; there is an imperative command in that for the disciples.  For you see, the Holy Spirit can be refused: He can be grieved [Ephesians 4:30].  He can be drowned.  He can be quenched [1 Thessalonians 5:19].  He can be grieved.  He can be strangled.  The Holy Spirit can be refused and rejected [Matthew 12:31-32].  And the Lord says to His disciples by imperative command, “Take ye the Holy Spirit!”  [John 20:22]. Take the Holy Spirit; and the disciples, in prayer and in waiting, and in their unanimity, and in their gathering together, the disciples were ready to take at Pentecost! [Acts 2:1-4]. That is why I have always thought in my soul, and have always preached in my messages, that there is something for us down here, as well as something for God up there.  And that is a good illustration of it.  “Now you disciples, wait, and you tarry, and you pray, and you pour out your heart to God, and you get together, and you open your soul [Luke 24:49], and you labete, you take the Holy Spirit!” [Luke 24:49].  And at Pentecost, they were ready to take, after ten days of prayer and pouring out their souls before the Lord [Acts 2:1-4].

All right, let us take the other side of it; “to receive”—labete; “Receive ye the Holy Spirit.  Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22].  Then that’s what God is doing.  When the Lord ascended into glory, and when the Lord took captivity captive [Ephesians 4:8], and when the Lord marched in triumph and glory through the streets of a beautiful city and He sat down on the right hand of God [Hebrews 10:12], after ten days [Acts 1:3, 2:1], He did something.  Looking down upon His disciples and seeing their readiness in agony, and in prayer, and in commitment and dedication and consecration; then, after ten days, the Lord God sent from heaven—and I believe in the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father.  I believe in the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son.  It is the Spirit of God—He is the Spirit of God.  See how you’ll get to calling it an “it” before you know it?  He is the Spirit of God.  And He is the Spirit of Jesus.  And the Holy Spirit proceeds from both of them.  And according to the promise of the Father [Luke 24:49], the Holy Spirit was outpoured by the Lord Jesus [Acts 2:1-4].  And He came, a gift from God, and descended into this world to abide with us forever, at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4].  So not only do we take—do we open our souls and our hearts, but we also receive from the hands of God our Savior in heaven [John 1:12].  It is something that God does.  He is a gift from His bountiful and gracious and omnipotent hands.  We receive the Holy Spirit from heaven [Ephesians 1:13-14].  Like the mother heart receives its gentleness of love.  God does that when a little babe is born to a mother, God does something, the gentleness, the tenderness, the sweetness of a mother love.  It is like the olive tree receives its infusion of oil.  It is like the green grass receives its freshness from the dew that distills in the evening.  It is like a furnace that receives its fury of heat from the burning fire.  It is like the sail of the ship that receives the fullness of the sweep of the wind.  It is like the storm that receives the driving rain, the fullness.  It is like a swath of marsh that is filled to the full by the incoming tide.  So the disciples at Pentecost were filled with the fullness of God, the great, incoming tide of the Holy Spirit of the Lord [Acts 2:1-4].  “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” [John 20:22].

When I was a youth, I went to a conference, and I heard a preacher there close the message with this illustration.  He said there was this ship that sank in a bay, and they advertised for bids to raise that great hulk out of the bottom of the mud in the bay.  And the bids were processed and here was one astronomical, and another astronomical, and another astronomical, all of them enormous. But one of the bids was practically nothing, and they called in that bidder and said, “This is an amazing thing!  an amazing thing, these tremendous costs that are suggested to raise the ship out of the bottom of the sea.  And yours is practically nothing!  How do you propose?”  And he said, “I propose, when the tide is out, when the tide is out, I propose to take wooden barges and tie it to the hulk by cables of steal, and when the tides comes in, I propose to let God and the power of God raise the ship from the bottom of the sea.”  They let him try, and when the tide was out, he took wooden barges and fastened them by steel cables to the hulk on the bottom of the sea.  And when the tide began to flow in, those great cables tightened and those great wooden barges were raised upward and upward and upward, until the ship floated to the top of the sea; raised by the incoming power and hand of Almighty God!

I wonder if any of you all were around here when Robert H. Coleman, who led the singing in this church, copyrighted this song in 1927, and published it in a book here in this church.  I wonder if any of you old-timers ever remember when he copyrighted that song and introduced it here to the First Baptist Church in Dallas.

We thank Thee, Lord, that power is flowing,

Joy is coming, sorrow going;

Thy ransomed host is growing, growing,

But may the tide come in.

. . .

Life’s precious hours are quickly flying,

Men are dying, ever dying!

Thy pleading Church is crying, crying,

Oh, may the tide come in.

We praise Thee for the tidings cheering,

Signs of conquest now appearing,

Thy day of victory is nearing,

Thank God! the tide is coming in.

Let the tide come in,

Let the tide come in,

Let the cleansing billows

Sweep away our sin,

Let the tide come in

O God, let the mighty tide come in!

[“Let the Tide Come In,” David Ross, 1913]

Do you remember that song, any of you?  Well, I remember singing it as a boy.  If I hadn’t been preaching all morning long so hard, I can’t sing for you, I’d sing it to you right now.  I’d just sing it to you.  In fact, I think I’ll do it anyway.  Do you remember it?

Let the tide come in,

Let the tide come in,

Let the cleansing billows

Sweep away our sin,

Let the tide come in,

Let the tide come in,

Oh, let the mighty tide come in!

Do you remember that?  No, you don’t remember it, don’t remember it.  You’re too young.  You’re too young.  Well, let’s all sing it together anyway.

Let the tide come in,

Let the tide come in,

Let the cleansing billow

Sweep away our sin,

Let the tide come in,

Let the tide come in,

Oh, let the mighty tide come in!

 

Now can’t you see Bob Coleman leading that up here and holding up his hand like that?  That’s what that passage is talking about!  “And He breathed on them”; that was the symbol, and the tide was the fullness that descended upon us at Pentecost [John 20:22; Acts 2:1-4].

Well, Brother Wilt, let’s sing us a song.  And while we sing our song of appeal, in this balcony round, a couple you, one somebody you, while we sing this song, come.  There’s a stairway at the front, at the back, on either side, and time and to spare.  Come, come.  And on this lower floor, into the aisle and down here to the front: “Pastor, here I am and here I come.  I’m giving my heart today to Jesus.  I’m giving my life today to the Lord; we’re putting our lives in the church, pastor, my wife and my children, all of us are coming today,” or just one somebody you, while the Spirit of the Lord makes appeal this holy, heavenly hour, when you stand up, stand up coming.  “Here I am preacher, here I am,” while we stand and while we sing.

A POWER OR A PERSON

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 20:19-23

6-20-65

I.          Introduction

A.  Some theologians say Holy Spirit given here in verse 22

1.  But some things trouble me about this interpretation (Luke 24:, John 14:16-26)

a. The Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4-5)

2.  The separation of the Person and the power

a. Easy for us to categorize Him as an “it”, or a power

b. Difficulty furthered by grammatical gender (Romans 8:16, John 3:8, 14:16, 16:13)

II.         The meaning of John 20:22

A.  Emphusao, “to breathe upon” – described as one act, not repeated (John 20:21)

B.  Used nowhere else in the New Testament; but throughout the Old Testament

1.  In the original creation (Genesis 2:7)

2.  In the new creation, a significant, symbolic act

C.  First the breath, then the Pentecost

a. Pattern seen all through the Word of God

III.        Our calling, assignment

A.  Labete, “take” (John 10:18, 20:22)

B.  Labete, “receive” (John 20:22)

C. “Let the tide come in!”