Meditations in Acts : 13 : Why Wind?
Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
These first verses provide us with the reason for the rest of the book. Something happened on this day that meant that the world was never the same again. We are about to read of a supernatural event that pushed these weak, frail, and uncertain disciples out into the world in such a dynamic way that the world was changed. Now I maintain with this passage, as I maintain over so much Scripture, that many of us who have been Christians a long time become so familiar with it that we lose the impact of the incredible things we are reading about. There were three things that happened on this day of Pentecost that caused the disciples to be precipitated into the lap of the world in such a manner that the world was changed. Each of these phenomena convey a message from God to us. The first of these three things is the sound of wind.
Now note something significant here and it is something I missed for many years. It is NOT a wind! Contrary to what many of us think, this is not a great movement of air – it was simply a sound. We aren’t told that the furniture flew everywhere and the disciples were blown out into the open by a tremendous gust of air. When Elijah was taken it was clearly in a whirlwind, a tremendous movement of air, and as we commented in Part 1 in Acts 1, his young disciples went looking for him because they expected his body would be dropped somewhere by the wind – but this wasn’t like that. There wasn’t a wind!
In fact it must have been much more eerie for there they all are, sitting in this house when suddenly there is this tremendous noise like a great wind blowing, but they feel no movement of air on their faces. This sound fills the house, there is no escaping it. It isn’t a gentle whisper; it is a great rushing sound, just like there is a gale blowing – but it isn’t! Now that IS scary!
So it is not a physical manifestation so it must be an indicator of a spiritual movement. The sound of wind is the sound of great energy moving. Something is happening, something is coming which, if it is not material or physical, must be something else. Jesus had challenged Nicodemus with his teaching: “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.” (Jn 3:8) Perhaps that teaching says no more than you cannot tell how the Spirit comes or from where he comes, and so perhaps we are on a fruitless task trying to make some sort of explanation of what happened on this day.
But something is happening and from the outworking of it – the energizing of the disciples as we shall see later – it is a power thing. This sound seems to convey the idea that there is a mighty power that is pouring forth from heaven. We do need to hold onto the scale of it – it was a mighty power for that is what the description is, of a violent wind. This, whatever it was, is going to sweep everything before it; it is very powerful. Now we must realise that He will not sweep unbelievers before Him for He gives them free will and always gives us opportunity to make personal decisions.
However, in accounts of revivals, when God turns up in such power, there are accounts of unbelievers being so struck by the awareness of the presence of God that they are mightily convicted and literally floored. The powerful presence of God does have that effect without doubt. But here He is coming to believers, to those who have been following Jesus and who are waiting as an act of obedience to him. These are people who are waiting for God and so their hearts are open to Him. So when the energy of the powerful presence of the Spirit of God poured out and released from heaven comes into the open hearts of these believers they are suddenly energized in ways we will look at in the days ahead.
Have you ever stood near a tyre when it gets a puncture and the air pours out with a tremendous hiss? I imagine heaven being rent so the Holy Spirit who fills heaven, pours out with a tremendous rushing sound. It is the power of God being released on the earth, but He doesn’t just get dissipated, He pours into open hearts. In the past I have described ‘spirit’ as energy with a personality. This isn’t just energy being poured out, this is the energy that is God Himself and when it comes into the hearts and lives of human beings, it brings with it the character and nature of God Himself. There is not just a feeling of energy being received; it comes with a content, the goodness and greatness of God and as a result it produces in these men an instinctive desire to praise and worship God. It releases a great sense of joy. I believe that is what the Holy Spirit does whenever He is invited in and He comes and brings new life and He comes and fills an individual. He always brings with Him a sense of the greatness, the glory and the goodness of God, and that is expressed in what we call joy.
This divine energy with personality doesn’t just wash over these believers; He fills them. It is not an outward thing but an inward thing. In the past individuals had been anointed with oil as a sign of being anointed by God outwardly to equip them to serve Him, but now when the Spirit comes, He fills them and they are changed from the inside. They are all aware of some inner change taking place. Their hearts, their minds, their very beings are suddenly energized with the glorious presence of God and they are no longer the same.
Have you ever thought about what ‘God’s Power’ actually means? My definition is Holy Spirit directed energy to bring about God’s will. It is that simple, and that is what has come this day. A new day has truly arrived! The Message? This new Church is all about people empowered to be different!