He Will Baptize You with the Holy Spirit
"Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 'After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'"
- Mark 1:6-8
The ministry of John the Baptist was revolutionary for his day. John was the last prophet to the nation of Israel, and his voice filled a four-hundred-year void. After the prophet Malachi, there were four hundred silent years. God ended that silence by sending John, and he began the proclamation of a new kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, through John the Baptist. As Jesus would say in Matthew 11:11, "Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist."
Even with his bizarre clothing and eating habits and his challenging proclamation of repentance, people came to John in droves. Many within the nation of Israel were eager to hear his message and respond to his call to confess their sins, repent, and be baptized.
Despite the popularity of John the Baptist and the significance of his ministry, John would speak these words: "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie"
(Mark 1:8). Untying sandals was reserved for the lowest of the lowest slaves in a home. When John made this statement, he fully intended to shock people and draw full attention to the one of whom he was speaking. John's ministry was one of preparation for the Messiah, the anointed one. This Messiah would not just baptize with water for the forgiveness of sins, but he would baptize with the Holy Spirit. To baptize means to be immersed into - immersed into water, and then immersed into God himself. That was a true miracle!
Through Jesus, God came to dwell with his people. Then because of the work of Jesus on behalf of the people, God would come to dwell within his people. The long-awaited day had come. John called the nation of Israel to open their eyes, to open their hearts, and to receive this promised Messiah. The Kingdom was here, and they were invited to enter this new kingdom.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit would change everything for the people of Jesus' time, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit can change everything for us today. We receive this baptism when we come into a saving relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is poured out into our lives; we have the very presence of God dwelling in us. What an amazing gift! Though the Spirit is present, we have the responsibility to activate that Holy Spirit, to live in it, to surrender to the power and the guidance of that Spirit, to be transformed by the Spirit. Reflection:
Are you living in this power? Are you fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit's work in your life and through your life? It is the greatest privilege to have God dwelling within you. Let him do his thing today!