You see, I was the wind gauge guy at the recent State Track Meet. And with my handy little gauge, I could tell where the wind was coming from and how much of it there was. The wind gauge guy reads the gauge on each long jump to see if the wind is too strong, and thus a state record jump might be disallowed. Jesus never did this or else he would not have said, “The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going” (John 3:8). He needed a wind gauge.
Jesus compares the wind to the Spirit of God. God’s spirit is as unpredictable as the wind. Hey, makes sense to me.
If you are over 60 and I say “grassy knoll” what do you think? Conspiracy. What day and year? November 22, 1963. What place? Dallas, Texas. That was the day that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. And the “grassy knoll” is the place where some people that day said that they heard shots and saw a puff of smoke. Since that day, conspiracy theorists have insisted that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of our President. They insist that shots were fired from the “grassy knoll” or at least that Oswald did not commit the assignation alone. He had some help.
The word “conspiracy” comes from two words that mean to “breathe together.” To conspire is to breathe together. In other words, two or more people that day in Dallas, were breathing the same air, that being the air of assassination. They shared the same ideas or thoughts; they were breathing the same air.
In truth, we all breathe the same air. The atmosphere is the space that exists between the air we breathe and outer space. We have seen pictures of NASA spaceships re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. Beneath that veil is our atmosphere and in that atmosphere is all the air that ever was. It is just recycled. We breathe the same air that Plato breathed. And Michelangelo. On the other hand it is the same air that Hitler breathed. The air that we breath has been over Manhattan and down through the valleys of the Smoky Mountains. The air that we breathe was a baby’s first breath and an old man’s last breath. It’s all the same. Every time I play golf, I think, “I’m breathing the same air that Tiger, and Rory, and Jack Nicklaus breathe.”
And when Jesus breathed His last breath, He let go of some air that hovered over that cross and then it began to move over the hills and valleys and it settled in the Upper Room where some 120 disciples had gathered on the day of Pentecost. And on that day, the friends of Jesus got His breath, His spirit, and with that Spirit in them, they have been conspiring together to do His work in this world.
And these same disciples, who before the Spirit, didn’t think they were capable of tying their own sandals, began to walk miles in His service. They didn’t think they could say an Invocation at church, but got God’s Spirit and began preaching to hundreds. Before the Spirit they were petrified to make a hospital visit at Tanner, now they began to pray for the sick. They were the ones who couldn’t speak good Aramaic, but found themselves speaking other languages. The same ones who were too shy to carry a casserole across the street to a sick neighbor, found themselves confronting the powers that be with the gospel.
And all they did was take a breath. They breathed in the Spirit of God and they became different people.
I’m just glad they didn’t have a wind gauge because, if so, they would have thought they had the Spirit all figured out.