Lent – Day 5: Monday, 22 February

Lent – Day 5: Monday, 22 February

Matthew 3:11-12

11‘I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 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.’

Acts 1:3-5

3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’

And so John the Baptist announced the One he was preparing the people for. John’s ministry itself had been prophesied long ago – a voice calling in the wilderness: prepare the way for the Lord. John knew Jesus as a cousin, but I don’t think he knew that Jesus would be the One he was announcing. Does God have a sense of humour, or does he simply bless the wider family?

John tells the assembled crowds that the one to come is greater than he. Jesus later said that there was no greater prophet born of woman than John. That places John in a high position, and Jesus higher.

The odd thing in Jesus’ earthly ministry is that he did not baptise anyone, let alone with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It was not until after his resurrection and just before he ascended to heaven that he picked up on those words of John. He’d instructed his disciples to stay put in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit baptism.

What do you make of the second part of what Jesus said in the link above?

Why do most churches offer only water baptism?

Father God, you revealed through your prophet John that Jesus would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. I call in that promise in my life and in my Church fellowship. Amen.