“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.” –Jesus speaking to Nicodemus in John 3:8What is something that we all know exists, yet nobody can see it? It’s the wind. We can see it’s effects and feels it’s breeze, but we can’t actually see the wind.
The wind is one of many symbols used to describe the Holy Spirit. Regarding the Holy Spirit, Wikipedia states, “For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is the third person of the Trinity: the Triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; each entity itself being God.” (Quote source here.)
GotQuestions.org gives a more detailed description of the Holy Spirit as follows:
There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. Others understand the Holy Spirit as the impersonal power that God makes available to followers of Christ. What does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will.
The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. In this verse Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” It is a clear declaration that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. We can also know that the Holy Spirit is God because He possesses the characteristics of God. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Then in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Holy Spirit. “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
We can know that the Holy Spirit is indeed a divine person because He possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit thinks and knows (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). He makes decisions according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. As God, the Holy Spirit can truly function as the Comforter and Counselor that Jesus promised He would be (John 14:16, 26, 15:26). (Quote source here.)
The Holy Spirit has many roles in the life of a Christian, and “the Bible is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is active in our world” (quote source here.) A listing of those roles includes: Author of Scripture; Comforter/Counselor/Advocate; Convicter of sin; Deposit/Seal/Earnest; Guide; Indweller of Believers; Intercessor/Revealer of Truth; Spirit of God/The Lord/Christ; Spirit of Life; Teacher; Witness (source here including a brief description of each role).
In an article titled, “Symbols of the Holy Spirit,” by Dr. Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church On The Way and Chancellor of The King’s University, he states that the Holy Spirit comes as (1) Rain, (2) Rivers, (3) Wind, (4) Oil, (5) Wine, (6) Fire, and (7) as a Dove (see descriptions for each at this link). For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll focus on the Holy Spirit described as “Wind.” Dr. Hayford writes:
The Holy Spirit, coming as wind, depicts His power and His guidance. When Jesus tells Nicodemus about the new birth experience (John 3:8), He tells him that it is not like a tangible birth where you can see the baby is born and check the clock for its time of arrival. The work of the Spirit breathes into a life, and something transpires that people cannot recognize. There’s a dynamism but also a gentleness, like the wisp of a breeze. You can’t necessarily see where it came from or where it goes, but all of us can attest to times when God has come and dealt with us, and no human being knew how it happened.
At Pentecost (Acts 2:2-3), it wasn’t a wind that blew in; it was the sound of a rushing wind—like a hurricane. That sound, not the sound of the people speaking in tongues, is what drew the crowd in. The Holy Spirit as sovereign God is dynamic, irresistible, and unstoppable. (Quote source here.)
In an article titled, “The Holy Spirit Is Like Wind,” by Rick Renner, author of over 30 books, who along with his wife, Denise, pioneered three churches, a Bible school, and a ministerial association that serves thousands of Russian-speaking pastors throughout the former USSR as well as parts of the Middle East (source here), he writes:
We’re all aware of the potentially destructive power of wind. But if properly harnessed, wind can also bring tremendous benefits. Think how much it would impact the world if there were no wind. The earth would be stagnant, stinking from pollution and from the normal decaying process that is occurring on the planet.
Just think how essential wind has been to the very development of civilization. For example, if there were no winds, exploration never would have occurred. Consider the great ships of the past that had no mechanical or nuclear energy to drive them, yet they glided across oceans with ease as their great sails caught the winds. The world was explored and conquered by men who “set sail” and traveled the globe, fueled by the force of the wind.
In fact, if no wind were blowing, there would be no movement. Windmill blades would never turn—and the production of materials would be slowed and diminished. Wind is essential for progress to be made. Without wind, we would be hundreds of years behind where we presently are in history.
Wind cannot be seen, but its effects can be felt and heard—just like the Holy Spirit. We cannot see Him, but we can feel the effects of His presence and His power. On the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:2 says, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” Today I want us to look at the comparison of wind to the Holy Spirit in this verse to see what we can learn about why the Spirit came in this manner on the Day of Pentecost and what this means to you and me.
In Acts 2:2, 120 disciples were gathered in the Upper Room, waiting for the promise of the Father as Jesus had commanded them (see Acts 1:4). The Bible says that as they were waiting, “suddenly” there came from Heaven a certain sound. The word “suddenly” was translated from the Greek word “aphno,” which carries with it the idea that something took them off-guard and by surprise.
Acts 2:2 goes on to say, “…Suddenly there came a sound….” This phrase “there came” is a translation of the word “ginomai,” which in this case describes something very similar to the Greek word “aphno”—something that happens unexpectedly or that catches one off-guard.
The word “sound” in this verse is the Greek word echos. This is the very word that is used in Luke 21:25 to describe the deafening roar of the sea.
Verse 2 continues, “…A sound from heaven….” The phrase “from heaven” is from the Greek words “ek tou ourano.” The word “ek” means out, and “tou ourano” means of Heaven. This leaves no doubt that this sound had originated and emanated from Heaven itself.
Then Luke compared this sound from Heaven to a “rushing, mighty wind.” The word “rushing” was translated from the Greek word pheromones, the present-passive participle of “phero,” which means to be carried, borne, or driven and agrees with the idea of something borne or driven downward very loudly. When this sound from Heaven came, it was loud—so loud that the writer used the word “rushing” to describe what Jesus’ disciples heard that day in the room where they gathered.
Furthermore, the Greek text also uses the word “biaias” for “mighty,” a word that could be better translated as violent. Hence, this “sound” thundered like the roaring of a sea or a mighty wind that swept downward very loudly and violently.
The word “wind” itself comes from “pnoe,” which describes wind so loud that one may be tempted to cover his ears from the overpowering noise of it. This means when the Spirit was poured out, it was no quiet affair. It was loud, noisy, and violent—not violent in terms of destructive, but rather it was strongly felt.
Just as wind moves ships, empowers engines, drives windmills, and disperses pollution from the earth—when the Holy Spirit moved on the Day of Pentecost, He released power strong enough to transform 120 disciples into a mighty force for God!
When the wind of the Spirit blows upon a near-dead church, it can blow life back into that congregation again. When all of our organizing is done and is nearly perfect, yet we still lack power, it is the wind of the Holy Spirit that can blow strongly upon us and cause a vision or organization to come alive with the life of God.
If you are someone who desires a “quiet” relationship with God, I must warn you that when the Holy Spirit’s wind blows, it is rarely a quiet affair. It is usually noisy and attention-attracting—or as we’ve seen, it’s a powerful force that sweeps downward from Heaven like the roaring of the sea.
When God formed man, He formed him perfectly. But man had no breath in his lungs until God breathed the breath of life into him (see Genesis 2:7). Likewise, when the Church was assembled on the Day of Pentecost, it had no power until the Holy Spirit breathed into that assembly. When that loud “boom” exploded overhead in the room where they were gathered, the power of God came upon 120 disciples, and they became an empowered, mighty force in the earth as a result.
Wind is a good word to describe the power of the Holy Spirit. Change happens when winds blow—and when the Holy Spirit moves, He brings change like wind. Energy is produced by wind—and when the Holy Spirit moves in this manner, He supplies supernatural energy. He empowers us to do what we could not naturally do on our own. Oh, how we need the supernatural wind of the Holy Spirit! (Quote source here.)
In an article titled, “How is the Wind like the Holy Spirit?” (author’s name not mentioned) on ChristianAnswers.net, the author states:
This question brings to mind John 3:8: “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.”
The word spirit in both Hebrew and Greek means “breath” or “wind.” Both a breath of air and a breeze are appropriate images for the Holy Spirit.
Consider several properties of the wind:
- Wind is moving air, and this fresh air is needed continually for life itself. Even seeds often require wind for their dispersal and subsequent growth. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the presence of God, the source for all life.
- Wind has no material shape or form. It is invisible; we cannot see the source or the destination of wind. It is a mysterious, unseen force. Nevertheless, its presence is known by its effects.Likewise, the unseen Holy Spirit can be experienced in a refreshing way. His presence is displayed in the work he does in human lives by transforming, sanctifying, encouraging, and teaching.
- Wind is a powerful force. It cannot be stopped or controlled by people. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is not subject to human control. The moving of the Holy Spirit is God at work.
- There is great variety in the wind. It may be a soft whisper gently rustling the leaves on the trees, or it may be a hurricane uprooting trees.Likewise, the Holy Spirit may gently bring a person to Christ, such as a little child raised in a Christian home, or he may work in some climactic, dramatic way to bring conviction and conversion to the hardened sinner. In Acts 16, contrast Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened (verse 14), and the jailer, who needed an earthquake to jar him to his spiritual sense (verse 30). In both cases, the Holy Spirit did the regenerating work. (Quote source here.)
I’ll end this post with the same words from John 3:8 that I began this post with which is Jesus speaking to Nicodemus in John 3: 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 . . . .
YouTube Video: “Which Way the Wind Blows” (1974) by The 2nd Chapter of Acts: