SCRIPTURE: LUKE 3:7-18
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
REFLECTION by Savannah Olivier
In this passage, the people question if John is in fact the Messiah they have been anxiously awaiting. John responds to this inquiry by saying he is not but is baptizing the people in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. John uses water in baptism because he is not the Messiah, the one who will baptize withe the Holy Spirit and fire. Upon first reading this, the word fire alarmed me. However, in this context fire is warmth. I imagine God holding the eternal flame in the palm of his hand. The fire element is used to “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your Holy Name, through Christ our Lord.” Preparing the way for the Messiah is not limited to baptism; the real preparation is in one’s character and behavior. The ultimate test of heart and dignified lifestyle.
Jesus, help us see the real You in the world today. Give us courage to continue to be filled with expectation and give us hope through the questions that are not yet answered. Amen.
Holy eternal Majesty, Holy incarnate Word, Holy abiding Spirit, Bless you for evermore. Amen.