It’s time to get ready to go back to work after a 4 day weekend celebrating the birth of our country. It seems like there have been fireworks for the last 4 nights, and I am sure, plenty of oohs and ahhs. The Bible tonight opened to John the Baptist providing rebirth through baptism and foretelling of Jesus:
“I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew tells us that Jesus has His own fireworks for us — baptism through the Holy Spirit! Imagine those fireworks, the oohs and the ahhs created by the fire from the Holy Spirit. Close your eyes from the world before you, the computer or phone screen, the man made fireworks or electronic flashes of light and feel the Holy Spirit surrounding you. Better than any lightshow on earth.
Now I know in this passage John talks about Jesus separating the good from the bad. He will gather his wheat in his barn and the chaff he will burn. I quickly googled “chaff” and one of its definitions is “worthless things; trash”. But as I read this passage tonight, I don’t know that Jesus separates out the trash to dispose of it, as I used to think when I read this passage. Thank goodness — because I know I feel like chaff more often than I feel like wheat! Are any of us really the wheat ready to be gathered? So what becomes of us? John says He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. But John has just told us that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. So is it bad to be burned with fire? Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to baptize us. Even if we are just the chaff, if we go to Jesus, if we repent, if we ask for the Holy Spirit, then the fire that will burn is the fire of the Holy Spirit. And for those of us who may be chaff, don’t we need the Holy Spirit more than those who are already the good wheat gathered in heaven (Jesus’ barn)? Jesus sends us the right fire — even when we feel worthless, even when we feel like trash, even when our actions may have been trash — He offers us rebirth. He offers us help through the Holy Spirit — we just need to accept it.
I am sorry for my sins. I am sorry for the times I have not placed you first. Help me to grow into the hearty wheat. I am ready to be baptized by the Holy Spirit! Send me your fireworks!