Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Fire!
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 3
John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, came on the scene when Jesus was nearly 30 years old. He preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that all men needed to repent. John wore the clothes of a prophet and lived in the lonely places of the Judean wilderness. Matthew records that he was the one spoken of by Isaiah, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” (Isaiah 40:3) Many people came and confessed their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
When the Saducees and Pharisees came to observe, John warned them of their need to repent and be baptized. He told them that having a genetic tie to Abraham was not enough with God. God was looking for fruit of obedience in each life and would judge all who had none! He also warned them that there was one coming after him who would be more powerful and honored. The “Coming One” would baptize men with the Holy Spirit and with fire, not just water! This One would gather in the faithful, but punish the wicked! (Matthew 3:11-12)
Jesus then appeared to be baptized by John. John recognized Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus was insistent and John baptized Him. As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came down and rested on Him like a dove, and a Voice from heaven stated: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Water baptism is a step of obedience that all disciples should follow. But Jesus also is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and Fire! Go after all He has for you!