8 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.“
JOHN 3:8 ESV
8 τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλʼ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος.
JOHN 3:8 SBLGNT
Herman N. Ridderbos, in his commentary on the book of John, writes that verse 8 focuses on the positive side of Jesus’ initial pronouncement and illumines it by employing the image of “wind.” Both Hebrew and Greek have one word for “wind” and “spirit,” and wind, in its power and effect, is a common image of the Spirit.
Example in Acts 2:2 – “2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting,” and Ecc 11:5 – “5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”
The wind is observable, but it goes sovereignly where it pleases and is untraceable in its origin and disappearance. A person who is born of the Spirit is also free, mighty, and untraceable in its movements. In all this, the divine possibilities are set over against the impossibilities of humankind (“flesh“), not just negatively but precisely to cause people to look away from their own (im)possibilities and toward God for their salvation. For the freedom of the Spirit to go where he pleases is not capriciousness but a power that nothing can hold back.
Moreover, the Spirit’s mystery is not anonymous incalculability, but possession of means that humans cannot have but are possible with God as it is written in Romans 11:33 – “33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
It is in that way, a way not only determined by God but now opened up by him, that humans become participants in that new existence and hence gain entrance into the kingdom, which in vs. 16 is called eternal life. Accordingly, faith in the salvation revealed in Christ on which the now following verses focus and in which the “dialogue” with Nicodemus achieves its real goal.
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, vol. 1, New Testament Commentary, offer this commentary, “The sovereign character of regeneration is clarified by an illustration taken from the action of the wind. That is the first clause of verse 8, and the term πνεῦμα means wind and not Spirit, is clear from the last clause, “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” That clause—particularly the word so—indicates that we are dealing with a comparison here. Jesus, then, says, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes to.“
Nobody on earth can direct the wind; it acts with complete independence. It cannot even be seen. You know that it must be there, for it makes a sound striking any object. Its source and its ultimate goal or destination (Jesus does not say that no one knows the direction of the wind.) no one knows. Jesus adds, So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. The relation of the wind to your body resembles that of the Spirit to your soul. The wind does as it pleases. So does the Spirit. Its operation is sovereign, incomprehensible, and mysterious. What a lesson this was for a man who had been brought up believing that a person could and should save himself by perfect obedience to the law of Moses and a host of man-made, thoroughly analyzable, human regulations.
As Christians today, we seek the power of the Holy Spirit that is brought alive through the Word of God to empower us to place the armour of God and stand steadfast to the glory and majesty of our God. It is also a reminder that we are not to use this as a means to empower ourselves, for the power of God empowers us to glorify him. This calling brings us along a journey that enlightens our view of the world. Hence, that journey is like the wind and each of us are to bear witness to the path which God brings us to witness.
As Christians, our faith is the foundation that we build ourselves upon and that faith is what gives us the Spirit to take us places where we do wish to go, as Jesus revealed to Peter in John 21: 18- “18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” There is no commentary to support my view, but if we as Christians understand the power of the Holy Spirit, we will realize it is the divine that dresses us and not man.