Sunday, 4 June 2017
"John answered, saying to all, 'I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.'" Luke 3:16,17
Baptized with the Holy Spirit
Pentecost marks the birth of the Church, the day on which Jesus baptized and saturated all those who believed in Him with His Spirit of holiness. Pentecost is also the fulfilment of the first part of what John prophesied concerning Jesus, that He would clean out His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn. The Church is God's "gathered ones," set apart by His Spirit to dwell in Him for eternity.
Baptized with fire
Pentecost is also the evidence that Jesus will fulfill the second part of John's prophecy. When Jesus returns, He will indeed baptize with fire and condemn those who have not been gathered into His barn - the chaff that will burn with unquenchable fire.
As the Church celebrates Pentecost let us be reminded that we are Christ's gathered ones, filled with His Spirit, who belong to Him and are set apart for Him but let us also be reminded that those who have not believed will also be baptized, not with the Holy Spirit but with fire.
My prayer for us, as the Church, is that we would respond to the One who is mightier than us with reverence and awe as we recognise that He has the power to baptize with the Spirit and with fire. Let us be saturated with the Holy Spirit but let us also be filled with compassion and urgency to reach those who have not yet been gathered into His barn.