A mighty rushing wind
May 21, 2021
The first Pentecost took place during Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot, one of three Jewish pilgrimage festivals (Deut 16:16). Shavuot commemorates the giving of the law on Sinai and offers thanks for the spring harvest. About 120* disciples were together the morning of the Feast when “…suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting”. Tongues resembling fire divided and distributed themselves among them, reversing God’s act of confusing the languages of the rebels who built the Tower of Babel (Ac 1:15, 2:1-4). As the disciples began praising God in languages they had never learned and Peter preached the Gospel in the power of the Spirit, 3000 people received life through faith in Messiah Jesus, a reversal of the 3000 who died when the law was given on Sinai (Ex 32:28, Ac 2:41).
This event is known as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which Peter related to a prophecy in Joel 2:28-32. Despite its power and impact, many believe it was only a foretaste of an outpouring still to come. During a worship service in 1999, an Anglican Innu congregation in Pond Inlet in Canada’s Arctic experienced the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit (I’ve heard the recording). You can read about it and its subsequent impact here: “Arctic Revival” in christianity.ca.
The same Greek word means both “Spirit” and “wind” (see bolded words below). Jesus explained the Spirit to Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, by comparing Him with the wind: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:6-10). I wonder if Nicodemus was one of the 120.
Over the past few years, and especially in 2021, prayer for the Harvest has ramped up significantly in frequency, numbers of cooperating ministries and movements, and people – sometimes numbering in the millions – praying and fasting. One example, “Hope of the Coming Harvest 2021” (Youtube), is focused on this Pentecost week. During this appointed time of the Lord (Lev 23:4), let’s pray for the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit to change the game in two impossible situations.
Father, we pray for communities in Israel where Arab Muslims and Jews who are neighbors have been incited to the point of attacking one another. Send Your Holy Spirit as a mighty rushing wind to blow away the incitement, reveal the love of the Father for both Arabs and Jews and cause them to lay down their weapons, rage and hatred and ask, “What must we do?” (Ac 2:37-39).
Father, we pray for Gazans who continue to suffer under Hamas’ commitment to violence. Jesus, You are stronger than the one who holds them captive. Confiscate his armor of lies, intimidation and poverty of spirit. Send Your mighty rushing wind into their homes, streets and places of worship, causing them to fall to their knees in worship and repentance, call on the name of Jesus and be saved. Plunder this palace of Islam and bring the captives out to feast at Your banqueting table! (Lk 11:21-22, Ac 2:17-21)
God of the impossible, You do immeasurably MORE than we ask or imagine (Lk 1:37, 18:27; Eph 3:20)!
*This number represents the governmental authority Jesus said He would invest in the church He would build (Mt 16:16-19, 18:18). 120 = 12 X 10. There were twelve apostles and twelve tribes; in Judaism, ten adults are required for liturgical purposes.