Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan could have received his inspiration from Jesus when he wrote these lyrics in 1963: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” Jesus spoke of something blowin’ in the wind when he tried to explain to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, how a person is born again (John 3).
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly I say to you, 'Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (John 3:5). Say what? Be encouraged. Some things in the Bible are not easy to understand, even for a religious expert like Nicodemus.
Jesus is a master teacher and communicator. He plays on words and draws an analogy from nature at the same time. The Greek word pneuma can be translated “spirit” or “wind.” Thus, the Spirit of God blows mysteriously like the wind.
From where the wind blows and to where it goes nobody knows. Even the trained meteorologist scratches his head when the wind ignores his forecast. We see the effect of the wind but not the wind itself. Trees blowing. Waves frothing. Dust billowing up from the ground. Tumbleweed rolling across a West Texas road. Yes, invisible and unpredictable is the wind. And so it is with the work of the Spirit in the life of a born again believer in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit is like a gentle breeze. At other times he is like a mighty, rushing wind. The Book of Acts records the time when the Spirit of God blew like a holy tornado and gave birth to the church on the day of Pentecost. “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). Whoosh! Three thousand people were born into the kingdom of God that day. Nothing in the path of a mighty wind is ever the same.
A sailboat sits still in the water without the wind.
A child’s kite lies on the ground unless a gust of wind carries it into the sky.
A wind farm that produces clean energy is merely a nice idea unless the wind actually turns the blades of the giant turbines and converts kinetic energy into electricity.
Likewise, no person is born from above and no born again person lives a victorious life apart from the mysterious Wind of God.
Bob Dylan might have been singing about war, peace and protest, but in one sense he was right. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.