June 11, 2016

The Holy Spirit as Wind

John 3:1-15

A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

—  Acts 2:2

If you’ve experienced a heavy windstorm, you know the power and strength of wind. It’s somewhat strange; you can’t see the wind, but you certainly can detect its power in the way leaves are blown around and tree branches bend and break.

Both the Hebrew and Greek languages convey vivid images of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament Hebrew word for God’s Spirit (the “Spirit of Yahweh”) means “spirit” and “breath.” The New Testament Greek word also means “spirit” and “breath,” as well as “wind.”

In the story of Nicodemus, Jesus points out that the Spirit of God is like a wind that blows where it pleases; while lacking shape or form, the Spirit definitely has a will. And a person’s will is a key aspect of their personality.

Jesus’ likening the Holy Spirit to wind or breath also echoes the Spirit’s power as the life-giving force of creation. And Jesus makes clear to Nicodemus that the Spirit gives life to people who are spiritually dead.

The story of Pentecost not only represents the awesome power of God’s Holy Spirit; it marks the beginning of a new era. From Pentecost onward, the Spirit breathes new life into the spiritually dead, moving them to follow the risen Lord Jesus. 

How is the Holy Spirit blowing in your life today? Listen for the Spirit’s breathing and moving as he gives you opportunities to be a witness for Jesus.

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love the way you love, and do what you would do.” Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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