“I baptise you with water, but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am- so much greater that I’m not worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
People are eagerly expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they begin to ask John the Baptist if he is the one. John says that there is someone coming soon who is much greater, and who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
One day, Jesus comes to be baptised by John. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends , and a voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
The baptism of John was a baptism of repentance from sin. The baptism of Jesus is a baptism into the Holy Spirit and fire.
When we turn from our sins and ask Jesus to take control of our lives, we are immersed, soaked and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the empowering to live for Christ and in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes with many gifts to enable us to have the power of Christ, and the fruit to give us the character of Christ.
Sometimes the expression of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is delayed. I have no explanation for that. I do know that at conversion we get all of the Holy Spirit.
There is another baptism, a baptism of fire. Fire represents judgement on sin. For those who do not follow Jesus it is a destructive fire. For those who so know Jesus, it is a purifying fire, a fire that burns away all of our sin.
Water baptism is a one-off event that symbolises our death to self and resurrection in Christ. Spirit baptism is a constant process in which we soak continuously in the grace of God.
Glorious God, thank you for the baptism in the Spirit and of fire. Soak me and burn away all the chaff from my life so that I can be totally dedicated to you. Amen.