When the Wind Blows

When most of us think of the Gospel of John chapter 3, we naturally go immediately to verse 16, which Billy Graham often called “The gospel in a nutshell.” Yet there is much more in Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus than that verse. One overlooked part of the discussion has to do with the wind. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3:8) Jesus uses a play on words here not just about flesh—being born again, but also about the Spirit—when the wind blows. Jesus is teaching us about the power of God’s Spirit in our salvation and daily Christian walk.

We love to name the wind. Tropical storm Henri tore through the northeast recently. Our terms for the wind usually include descriptive words like cool, gentle, harsh, or bitter. We have breezes, storms, gales, cyclones, hurricanes, and tornadoes. There are puffs of wind, whirlwinds, and windswept images around us. Many of us were put to bed with the odd lullaby, Rock a Bye Baby in the Tree Top. Those of us who came of age in the Hootenanny Era of world history remember songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “They Call the Wind Mariah.” Later the group Kansas sang the Ecclesiastes paraphrase “All We Are is Dust in the Wind.”

Our Scriptures are filled with images of refreshing breezes and mighty winds. We call the Breath or the Wind or the Spirit of God Rûach in Hebrew, Pnúema in Greek.  The Bible opens with the Wind of God blowing across the endless deep, signaling the start of creation. I love the passage in Genesis where God breathes, and newly formed Adam’s lungs are filled with air and his body is filled with God’s Spirit (2:7). The passage in 1 Kings when Elijah, depressed and alone, desperately needing to hear a word from God, cannot hear God in the fiery windstorms but only in the still, quiet voice (19:12). Read in Matthew where Jesus rebukes a fierce storm, and the wind obeys (8:27). Or about the day the gathered church was set on fire and the wind of God’s Spirit was so loud people came from everywhere to see what was happening. We named that day Pentecost (Acts 2). 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Look where the Wind is blowing. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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