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Matthew 3: 11

I baptize you with water for repentance but after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

It is a new year and with the new year, hope springs eternal. I pray that you have great expectations for this year. I pray that you are looking for new revelation and new challenge. There is something fresh and optimistic about the beginning of a new year. Let’s pray together that we can challenge our assumptions and reach for the fresh new revelation that the Lord has for us this year.

Today’s verse represents one of those areas where we may challenge ourselves and perhaps open the door for new insight into the Lord Jesus and his hopes for our lives. John the Baptist was speaking. He spoke about his ministry and about the one who was to come after him, namely Jesus. Each, it would appear, has a baptism ministry. John’s baptism was of water and that baptism was for repentance. Most of us are familiar with water baptism. In fact, most readers of this devotional have been baptized in a water baptism. The curious part of the verse is John’s description of Jesus’ ministry of baptism. He revealed that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. What does that mean? Honestly, we are much more familiar with John’s baptism than we are with Jesus’. There is something in that truth that rankles. Since Jesus is our Lord, it seems we should be more familiar with his baptism.

I am not going to suggest what I believe it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. Instead, I wish to offer this inquiry to you. This question can be our journey for the year. Each verse we read, each devotion may lead us into a deeper revelation of what John meant. Every word Jesus spoke may give us a glimmer into what it means to live in this baptism from Jesus. Each revelation from Paul and the other writers of the New Testament reflects on the ministry of Jesus even as the entire Old Testament was a prophetic forecast of the coming Messiah. My point is this, Jesus ministry is revealed in every Word from God. Every revelation since the beginning of time was intended to reveal the Messiah. Since the Messiah came to earth for the benefit of humanity, then each of these revelations was for the betterment of our lives.

I offer this question to you then, what is this baptism of Jesus? What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire and what was it intended to accomplish in our lives? The Messiah is come. In his wake is a plethora of gifts and anointing and revelation. What will Jesus show us this year about himself? What does he long for us to understand? Have great expectations and allow the Lord, our Christ and friend, to fill you this year with more of himself.

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