(First published July 24, 2013)
I know. Through his nose. Unless he had a cold or allergies, in which case he breathed through his mouth.
The question occurred to me as I was reading Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. He said that the reason we struggle to understand Jesus’s statement that his yoke is easy is that we don’t live like Jesus lived.
Instead, we look mostly at the big events, the cool events, the events that receive all the press coverage. All four biographies, for example, talk about feeding 15,000 people. All four spend a lot of time on the last week, the last weekend, the last few hours of his life. The time when he gave up his last breath. But realize that there was a lot of living in between that we don’t know about.
I’m not sure that we need to worry about the events that we don’t know about. But I think we could learn from the way Jesus lived.
So I started wondering the other day how Jesus breathed. He didn’t do some divine “take all your breaths at once”; he actually had to breath several times a minute for thirty-three years. He sighed a couple of times, once in prayer (Mark 7:34), once in frustration (Mark 8:12). Because he knew the psalms, because he went to synagogue and he taught, he likely knew the psalms that say “Everything that has life and breath, praise the Lord”. After he rose, at one point he breathed on the disciples, enacting physically the giving of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). And, for all I know, he still is breathing. With his resurrected ascended body.
Since, apparently, he took one breath at a time, following him will mean the same thing. It is a life filled with unnoted but essential bits of living. Like breathing.