1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea
2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"
4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.
6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
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.
12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.
14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Very often we try too hard to live a good life. It seems like we are leading a strained Christian life. When we live like that it's not very inviting to others who want to follow Christ.
One of the processes that take place while making tin sheets is to subject them to intense heat. After this process the molecules are so harmonised that, when the tin plates are bent, they would not break. Our text tells us today that Christ would baptise not with water, but with fire.
Isn't that what we need? A fiery baptism that will purify and melt us and, in a sense, set the molecules of our souls in right relation to each other so that when the pressures come upon us, we won't break. When we have Christ in our hearts, all the inner strain is taken away and we are left with only peace.
Share your faith with someone so that they can experience the peace of Christ.