ACTS 2:2 (NIV)
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
The sirens have gone off again. We grab our phones, continually beeping with weather alerts, and rush downstairs to our basement room. It’s a small space with a solid door and a few food staples and water kept inside for just such an emergency as this.
A tornado is coming through our area, and for those who have experienced being close up to one of those untamed forces of nature, it’s a terrifying thing. The sound alone tells you that an undeniable, irresistible, unseen force is right at your doorstep—and you’d better respect it because you simply cannot stop it! In the spirit of a recent commercial, we could say: “Tornadoes move things around. If you’re a tornado, it’s what you do.”
When Luke is describing what happened on that first Pentecost Day in Acts 2, he chooses “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind” as his metaphor. The disciples heard a roar, probably like the sonic tumult made by the tornado described above, and the choice of the word “violent” or “strong” reveals the feeling he is seeking to convey—this is no light breeze we’re dealing with here!
For the Jewish disciples, this kind of irresistible wind language related to the Spirit would have tied their stories together all the way back to the beginning of time. In Genesis 1, the Spirit (breath) of God hovers over the surface of the waters, bringing order to chaos, form to the formless. In Ezekiel 37:1-14, the prophet prophesies to the breath, the wind of God, and the valley of dry bones becomes a people filled with the Spirit of God. In John 3:8, Jesus refers to the wind when he talks about the Spirit coming and going, known only by the sound of its presence, like the wind.
Then, when Jesus breathes on his disciples in John 20:22 and tells them to “receive the Holy Spirit,” Luke and every other disciple would have connected those words all the way back through salvation history to the very beginning of time.
Now, the wind of the Spirit that hovered over the surface of the abyss at creation is roaring in the upper room! God’s powerful breath bringing order to chaos, life to a valley of dry bones, and strength to their fearful hearts was now filling them with power to be like Jesus in the world!
When the Spirit comes, hearts are filled with Jesus, who empowers us to be his ambassadors in our spheres of influence. And like a holy tornado, sometimes things are moved around that we wish were left in their place! But everything that the Holy Spirit does, the Holy Spirit does for our good—and the good of those around us.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. I am learning to welcome you to move in and through my life, no matter what gets moved around. Come, Holy Spirit. Have your way in my heart—I want to join you and your other followers in awakening the world to your love.
- What do you imagine the scene was in that upper room? Put yourself in the space with the disciples; what must it have felt like?
For the Awakening,