I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
History and Context:
The speaker here is John the Babptist, who is preaching in the wilderness before Jesus begins His ministry. John declares himself as "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'” This is quoted from the prophecies in Isaiah (40:3) of the coming Messiah. John preached repentance in order to prepare the way for Jesus.
John speaks of three baptisms:
1) Baptism of Water
2) Baptism of the Holy Spirit
3) Baptism of Fire
In reading the text we can already see an explanation for the baptisms of water and fire. The baptism of water is simply a sign of repentance. A sign of turning from our old ways and turning towards a new way in Christ. In Matthew 28 Jesus commands us to continue baptizing people in this way. The text shows the baptism of fire as being a way in which Jesus gathers His wheat, the good stuff, and burns up the chaff, the bad stuff. In other words the baptism of fire is a way in which Jesus purifies us. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is best explained in Acts 1:8 "and you shall recieve power". It is a baptism in the power of God. Continue reading Acts 1:8 and you will see that it is a power that enables us to be His witnesses. All three of these baptisms are still important today.
Have you been baptized? Have you been baptized into all three of these things? If there is anyone of these baptisms that you have not recieved I challenge you to do it today. For the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire all you have to do is ask. Ask God to baptize you in both. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and with His power. Ask God to baptize you in fire and to burn out all the 'chaff' in your life. Of course only ask for it if you really want it, because He will give it to you. If you haven't been baptized in water I challenge you to find a minister who you respect and trust and have him baptize you. Make it a proclamation of your repentance and your decision to become a new man. If you have any more questions on any of these baptisms find someone to ask your questions to, or just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lord, baptize me in your Holy Spirit. Fill me again with your power Holy Spirit. Baptize me in your fire, purify me. Let me be pure and holy as you are pure and holy. Let me be one with you. Help me to be your witness to those around me. In Jesus' name, Amen.