Matthew 3 – Baptism


As I read Matthew 3 the words that stood out for me are in v 11:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

In particular the last words, Jesus was to baptise in the Holy Spirit and fire. There is something entirely different about baptism with Jesus, it isn’t just about repentance of sin. That is part of it, yes. But is has an entirely different dimension. Just as Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit we have the same privilege.

We are to be baptised, immersed, surrounded by, filled with, the Holy Spirit.

I remember an illustration I sometimes use when I preach of pouring water into a glass so that it is full. I then drop the glass into a jug of water so that it is surrounded by water. Is the glass now in the water, or is the water in the glass? Both. That is the invitation that Jesus offers us.

John said that Jesus would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. Fire can mean cleansing and purification, but as I read this passage today the picture I have is fire as passion. God wants us to be baptised, immersed, surrounded by and willed with a passionate relationship with him. A passionate relationship that we can’t hold in and that will be naturally seen by others.

My prayer today is that at the start of this day Jesus might once again baptise me with Holy Spirit and Fire.

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