Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Luke 3:15-17

Luke 3:15-17
And while the people anticipate and all carefully reason out in their hearts concerning John as to whether he might be the Christ, John answered while saying to all that, “In one case, I baptize you all in water.  But my powerful one comes – who I am not powerful enough to untie the strap of His sandals – He will baptize you all in the Holy Spirit and fire.  Of whom, the winnowing fork is in His hand to clean out His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his storehouse.  But the chaff will be consumed by an unquenchable fire.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I love that John is forthcoming in his honesty.  He admits that he has a role to plan in God’s scheme.  He is baptizing with water.  He is proclaiming the need for repentance.  But as much as he is fulfilling a niche role, he is not the one who should deserve the focus.  Only God can impart His Holy Spirit upon us.  Only He can purify us as fire purifies precious metals.  Only He is the bringer of salvation.  John is honest and forthcoming about his own status.  He uses his honesty to bring about glory for God.  John uses his station and his role as an opportunity to lift up God.

Do you think of John as a humble man?  How can we see John’s humbleness before God even as he is certainly a confident and assertive prophet?

Second Thought:

Part of what Jesus does is separating people.  There are those that are wheat.  In other words, there are those that have the potential to be planted and bear fruit.  There are also other people who won’t bear fruit.  I don’t care how many dead stalks of grass into the ground, you won’t grow more grass!  In order to grow a plant, you have to plant something with a purpose and potential.  One of Jesus’ main functions – besides salvation – is to sort people out.  He knows His own.  He knows those who are in Him.

Are you in Christ?  How do you know?  Have you felt Jesus sifting and sorting through your life?

Third Thought:

The ending words of this passage have always haunted me.  Of course, that’s what they are supposed to do.  That’s why prophets say things like this.  The chaff won’t just burn.  They burn with an unquenchable fire.  Have you ever watched a cinder pop out of a fire?  Even as it floats up out of the fire, carried by the current of hot air rising away from the fire, it burns and glows against the dark sky.  Just because the cinder leaves the proximity of the fire doesn’t mean that the fire is done with the cinder.  So will judgment be for those who are chaff.  Their judgment will stay with them.  They will find no escape from the conviction that their sinfulness brings upon them.  They will be consumed in judgment of their sin and by their sin.  This is most certainly a status to avoid.

How do passages like these truly help us understand our gratitude for Jesus and the salvation that comes through Him?  Why do prophets use passages like this?  Do you think that fear is their ultimate goal?  If not, what is?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 3:18-22
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