Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.
I. Take the text in reference to THE HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF. The wind is an emblem of the Holy Ghost.
1. In its freeness. The wind is the very image of freedom. No one can fetter it. Caesar may decree what he pleases, but the wind will blow in his face if he looks that way. So the Spirit is most free and absolute. He visits one nation and not another. Of two men one receives His blessing and not another. One man wins souls, another seems to miss them. And the same minister will one day speak like the voice of God, and another be but a reed shaken by the wind. Yet while absolutely free He is not arbitrary.
(1) The wind has a law of its own, and the Spirit is a law to Himself. He does as He wills, but He wills that which is best.
(2) There are certain places where you will always find a breeze, on the mountains, in the morning or evening on the seashore. So in communion with God you will ever find the Spirit in motion.
(3) The wind in some lands has its seasons. There are trade winds, etc., which may be counted on. So there are certain times in, and certain conditions under which He visits the Churches — times of mighty prayer and exceptional faithfulness in preaching,
(4) The wind may blow, but the sailor may be asleep. Never suffer the Spirit to be with us and find us regardless of His presence. When the windmill was more in use than now, some parishes would be half starved when week after week there was no wind. The miller would look anxiously by day, and if the breezes stirred at dead of night, somebody would run and knock him up. Be on the look out. Hoist sail when the wind favours.
2. In its maul-festations — "Thou hearest," etc. Our Lord spoke of the gentle zephyr which is heard. The hearing ear is intended to be the disceruer of the Spirit. Faith cometh by hearing.
(1) Many get no further than hearing.
(2) Others hear the sound in their consciences and are disturbed.
(3) The man who is saved hears
(a) The threatening wind.
(b) The destroying wind.
(c) The invigorating wind.
(d) The sound of a going in the mulberry trees which summons us to victory.
3. In its mystery — "Thou canst not tell." We may tell that the wind comes from a certain quarter, but we cannot tell at what point it begins or where it ends. So with the Spirit we cannot tell —
(1) "Whence He cometh." His first movements are hidden in mystery. Why is it that you obtained a blessing under one sermon and not under another, and yet when you spoke to your sister she had been blessed under the other?
(2) "Nor whither it goeth."(a) When we let loose the truth in the power of the Spirit we never know where it may fly. A child takes a downy seed, but who knows where it will settle? Whole continents have been covered with strange flowers simply by the Wind's wafting foreign seeds thither. Fling the truth, then, to the winds.
(b) Nor can we tell whither it will carry us. When Carey gave his young heart to Christ, he never thought the Spirit would carry him to Serampore.
II. The text relates to THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF THE SPIRIT. The birth partakes of the nature of the parent.
1. As to freedom: where the Spirit is there is liberty from the bondage of the law, custom, sin, fear of death and dread of hell
2. As to manifestation. The regenerate are known by their sound. The secret life will speak by voice, action, influence.
3. As to mystery —
(1) Thou knowest not whence He cometh from the throne of grace.
(2) Thou knowest not whither He goeth — to the secret place of the Most High.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.