Scripture reading for March 13th: Numbers 30-33, Psalm 35, Luke 3
Key Scriptures: Luke 3:15-17 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.””
God had raised up John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin as a prophetic voice to prepare the people for Jesus’ ministry. Many asked if John might be the long-awaited “Christ.” John’s answer was a firm “No!” The Christ would be mightier than John and would have a better baptism. John baptized with water, but the Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would have the power and wisdom to separate people as a farmer separates the wheat from the chaff. ‘Wheat’ would be in His ‘barn’ but the ‘chaff’ burned in unquenchable fire!
Leviticus 31:21-23 “”This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean.”
Psalm 35:5 “Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for baptizing me with the Holy Spirit and fire. Guide me in Your path that I might be pure and holy in Your glorious presence, like wheat in Your barn.
Scripture reading for January 3rd: Matthew 3, Psalms 2:7-12, Proverbs 1:15-19
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
John the Baptist was the last prophet in the Old Testament who came in the spirit and mold of Elijah. (Malachi 4:5-6) Malachi had spoken of him in his last word over 400 years earlier. John came calling people to repentance and insisting that everyone needed to be baptized. Baptism was something that new converts to Judaism were called to do, but John insisted that all needed it. This angered the religious establishment but drew huge crowds of hungry people who were hoping to prepare themselves spiritually for the coming Messiah.
John told of the One coming after him! This One would bring a new baptism, the Holy Spirit and fire! As we seek to prepare ourselves for this new year, we would do well to seek Jesus for a fresh baptism or filling with the precious Holy Spirit! The fire was a symbol of the presence of God. Natural fire brought heat, light, and energy to those close to it; the fire of the Holy Spirit brings a holy energy to be a witness for the Lord. The fire of God’s amazing love will burn hot in those so baptized and they will share their love of Jesus and God’s love in them with those who have not heard!
It is interesting to note that Jesus is pictured by John with an instrument of harvest in his hands. His purpose is to gather His wheat into the barn. The wheat represents those who are believers in Christ and have the kernel of the Holy Spirit and God’s life in them. The barn represents God’s Kingdom and rule. Those who are “chaff”, have no life in them and are only fit for the unquenchable fire! The baptism of Jesus with the Holy Spirit and Fire is ours for the asking! (Luke 11:9-13) Don’t go another day without this precious gift!