There is an experience that John talks about in passing which brings us an insight into the 40 days Jesus spends with the Disciples. They are marvelling at the Risen Lord, and He breathes on them. What He breathes is His Holy Spirit.
Several years ago in Portugal, where I used to live and minister, where I would stay 15 years, the Lord began to expand my horizons theologically. Having been in charismatic and Pentecostal circles, with the classical theology that the Holy Spirit only came at Pentecost and we have access to that Baptism, I was starting to be shown that it is not entirely the case. In my own walk of over 36 years with Christ, there was always a discovery to be made theologically. This means that if we stay within denominational camps, it is most likely that theologically we will err and go into areas where we restrict the move of God, in His Church. The Lord would turn my attention to Luke 2, where Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She prophesied, as did Mary, as did Zachariah. Then we have Simeon and Anna. All having some great interaction with the Holy Spirit. Surely being filled with the Spirit must be something distinct to the Day of Pentecost outpouring, and its prophetic significance from Joel 2.
If we are going to be teachers and scholars of His Word we must understand that the filling of the Spirit before Pentecost brought prophetic declarations on the part of those who were so filled. After Pentecost new languages and known languages. We must understand the purpose of this filling, and it has all to do with Jesus breathing on His Disciples. For Jesus to breathe on them He had to exhale, and they had to inspire to receive. In Luke 24 we see the two disciples have their hearts burn within them, the Spirit opening their understanding.
We have to understand what these early saints, such as Luke 2 tells us, what their prophetic declarations were about. I find this quite fascinating as they prophesied way beyond the realms of the Old Testament prophets, seeing a breaking of the exclusivity of the Jews as sole participants in the covenants with God. And the concept of a forerunner to the Messiah to the Redemption process. The inclusion of the Gentiles. This could only happen, and this understanding could only be acquired by the Holy Spirit. Hence it is logical to assume that Jesus breathing on the Disciples means that they were being prepared for foundational details of the new things that God was about to do in bringing His Habitation into being. (Ephesians 2:20)
So Jesus breathing on them the Holy Spirit is both prophetic and preparatory for the founding of the Church. I see all what God plans to do with any generation, as being prophetic and preparatory because there are processes God initiates. For example Zacarias prophesies about the spirit of Elijah, direct fulfilment of Malachi’s own prophecy, and details about what God was about to do.
There is an enormity that we sometimes do not appreciate, we take it at face value, that there was a passing from Old Testament to New, and it was smooth. It was not. The transition from what the Old Covenant represented, a physical nation, a physical priesthood, a physical land, a physical Kingdom, to the New, being a spiritual nation, a spiritual priesthood, a spiritual land, and a spiritual Kingdom. There were most priests, the Sanhedrin, the nation that stumbled at this change. Despite what God the Father ordained in the work of Calvary, the difficulty of this transition from a human point of view is also at work at Calvary also. There is a warfare taking place at Calvary at many levels, in which the finished work would bring Redemption through a New Covenant, and only those whom Jesus breathes can be prepared to comprehend and receive.
When you consider that Paul spent 3 years in Arabia, was the personal transition to understand what God had to complete with the Old Covenant, and what foundation He built to bring the New. He did not abolish the Old, rather He completed it. You have to consider who the Apostle Paul was, to appreciate the transition made theologically, as a Pharisee trained under Gamaliel, to understand that this was not just academic learning, it was Jesus breathing His Holy Spirit to open Paul’s understanding. How much more does the Church need Jesus to breathe again on her!
I believe in our generation the same path is being mapped out, but this time what must be emphasized is what is encapsulated in Peter’s message, is who Jesus is now. We have majored in the Suffering Servant, but we cannot fully and truly enter into an all encompassing Pentecost without first being breathed upon to receive Him as King, and see His Domain in detail as the Kingdom. We have tried to have Pentecost without the King, and this will not work. Peter’s message on the Day is all about Jesus, as Ascended Lord and Glorified King. For the Church to operate it has to have the foundation of Kingdom. To understand this, Jesus breathes on us, for opening our vision, and prepare us for fullness. The fulness of that first Pentecost shook Jerusalem. How much a new Pentecost shake the whole world!
The reason why Pentecost must have the King at the centre, is that Jesus is given the Spirit by the Father to send to the Church, because according to Joel it is a sign of His impending Return. It is part of world and global preparation where Kingdom will visibly manifest on the Earth, and Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. It is incumbent of the Church to be part of this process. Hence the Spirit outpoured in the Church!
For Him to be Outpoured He must be first breathed upon us, to open our eyes, so that on that Day of Pentecost we shall see Him anew. So the breathing upon us is for opening our understanding, the Outpouring of a generational Pentecost is for opening our eyes to the Coming King!