I feel sorry for Nicola Sturgeon. Day after day she has to stand and give statistics on how many people have been tested, how many positive tests have been reported, how many Covid patients are in hospital and so on. It must be a thankless task to give such depressing statistics. I’ve had cause recently to reflect on what we might think of as the most depressing of all statistics, namely, one out of one dies. This is what all human beings face. All the more amazing then that the Author of Life itself would be willing to be made man:
‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’John 1:14
He humbled himself to embrace the limitations of life lived as a man in this world broken as it is by sin. To need food to eat and water to drink and air to breathe.
I’d like for us to reflect on two breaths Scripture records Jesus breathing. Two breaths which ought to give us cause to pause and give thanks today.
‘And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”’Mark 15:37-39
Jesus not only humbled himself to experience life as a man, but also death -in our place- for our rebellion against God. And what a death! The pain and the shame of the cross are willingly endured for us. This is the price required for us to be welcomed in to the holy presence of God. The curtain of the temple, which symbolically stood between God and man, is torn in two as Jesus breathes his last. The price has been paid! The door stands open! All that is required is simple trust in the sufficiency of his sacrifice.
Of course it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Jesus, he was raised from death. And there is another breath we ought to be thankful for, not a breath of death, but of life.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As he Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”’John 20:21-22
Peace be with you. No Coronavirus statistics or even the grim reality of death itself need cause us to live in fear. Jesus has come into the world to live as a flesh and blood human being. He experienced and understands our sufferings and sorrows. Though he never sinned, in love he died our death on the cross. We can live life forever with God and for God. He will be pleased to breathe out his Holy Spirit to his followers again as we look to him.
May we use the breath God gives us to praise Him in glad and grateful response to all he has done for us in Christ Jesus.
‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.’Psalm 150:6