Isaiah 43:1-7 (Passing through the waters); Psalm 29 (The voice of God upon the waters); Acts 8:14-17 (Prayer for the Holy Spirit); Luke 3:15-17 21-22 (The baptism of Jesus)
Jerusalem was experiencing what we would call a revival. People were traveling to the Jericho River to hear this strange guy by the name of John preach. He had a message that probably wasn’t very “seeker-friendly.” He kept telling people they needed to repent. It seemed in some cases like he was warning people away. Still, they came. They came to hear and they came to respond by being baptized in the Jordan to show that they were repenting of their sins.
Then, the whispering began. Was it possible that he was the Messiah? The people were longing for someone to rise up and overthrow the Romans. Could John be this Messiah? John stopped that talk. “John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps 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 he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’” Then Jesus came and when John baptized Him, God showed all those there that Jesus was the Messiah. John’s attitude is important to remember as we seek the Messiah in our lives today. Does the preacher we are listening to point people to Jesus or are they building their own kingdoms? Does preaching call you to confront your sins and turn to God, or is it designed to make you feel good in the midst of your sin? The baptism of Jesus not only validated the ministry of Jesus, it also validated the ministry of John.
Lord God, remind me that You are God. As I face my own sin, give me the grace to repent. As I repent, let me turn to You. Take away my sin and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Then make me a messenger of Your grace and forgiveness.