Flesh gives birth to flesh; spirit gives birth to spirit. Do not be astonished when I say you must be born again.God's Spirit within us, then, is our new birth. The Spirit showed itself explicitly during Christ's ministry both at the beginning and the end. Christ's public ministry began with his baptism, when the Spirit of God descended over the waters. And after Christ's resurrection, he breathed on his disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.
But both of these -- the spirit over the water, and the breathing into someone -- are things we have seen before. Before Jesus' baptism, the last time we saw the Spirit of God over the waters was at the beginning of the world: "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:2). And again at the beginning of the world, when God created the man from the dust, he breathed on the man to give him life (Genesis 2:7). So in Christ's ministry we see the Spirit showing Christ to be the beginning of the new creation. We also see that Christ is the way that the new creation comes to us. Jesus breathed on his disciples to give them God's breath, just as in the beginning God breathed on man.
Because the Holy Spirit and the new creation are so closely linked with baptism, these comments will be continued in the next post on baptism.
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