Summary: On a "windy" day in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit blew through the lives of the apostles and "electrified" them for Christian Service.
May 15, 2005
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.
6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.
The Beaufort Scale
On July 22, 1993, the wind turbine on the lawn of the Spirit Lake Elementary School [in Iowa] began producing electricity. Ninety months later, the school’s turbine had produced 1,570,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, which would have cost the district $124,900. This is enough electricity for 264 average Spirit Lake homes for a year. In addition to providing all of the electricity for the 53,000 square-foot elementary school, it also produced a reimbursement from the utility company of almost $25,000. The final payment for the loan on the turbine was made during 1998, 3.5 years ahead of schedule. Today the almost $25,000 savings go to the school’s instructional program. [“Spirit Lake wind project — vision to reality,” Spirit Lake Community Schools Web Site, spirit-lake.k12.ia.us.]
This is a story that is too good to pass up. “Wind power” at “Spirit Lake.” The Holy Spirit is also a mighty power—able to blow through our lives like a spiritual wind and electrify us for the mighty purpose of working for the new kingdom.
But let us talk about the physical wind for a moment. For thousands of years, no one thought that the wind could be measured, but then, in the late 1700s, a cabin boy in the British Navy began to keep a journal of weather conditions. His name was Francis Beaufort, and he grew up to become a Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, serving for 68 years. That’s right. I said 68 years. Over the course of his long career, he developed a method for describing the wind that became known as “The Beaufort Scale.”
The Beaufort scale differentiaties between a “calm,” a “light breeze,” a “moderate breeze,” a “gale,” a “storm,” and a “hurricane.” Beaufort’s definition of “calm” is a “sea like a mirror.” When a “light breeze” is blowing, you see small wavelets on the water, and the crests don’t break. A “moderate breeze” creates small waves, while a “strong breeze” generates large waves, white foam crests, and probably spray. In a “gale,” you see moderately high waves and crests that begin to break into sea spray. A “storm” is defined by very high waves with long, overhanging crests. The surface of the sea takes a white appearance, and the tumbling of the sea becomes heavy. And at the top of the scale is a “hurricane” — a wind condition you don’t want to see firsthand! “The air is filled with foam and spray,” says Beaufort, and the sea is “completely white with driving spray.” With his descriptions of every condition from calm to hurricane, Francis Beaufort created a way to describe the wind — a scale that is still in use today.
On this Sabbath day, let us consider a certain windy day in Jerusalem. The apostles gathered to celebrate the harvest festival known as Pentecost. The book of Acts tells us that there came a sound like the rushing of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where the apostles were sitting. Firelike tongues rested on each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability (Acts 2:1-4). Suddenly, the international crowd that had gathered in Jerusalem could hear the apostles speaking about God’s deeds of power. They could understand what the apostles were saying, because the apostles were speaking the native language of each and every person (2:5-11).
But the force of the wind did not end there. It inspired the apostle Peter, who had acted like a Christ-denying coward just a few months earlier, to stand in front of a mob of mockers and shout, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem ... listen to what I say.” Peter proclaimed that the coming of the Holy Spirit matched the words of the prophet Joel — words that told of how God would pour out his Spirit upon all people. Your “sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” said Peter to the crowd, and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2:14-21).