December 18, 2016

December 18: Fire

I am having such a lovely time studying the Gospels, rereading each writer's own telling of the Christmas story. As I read over each detail of the nativity story, I rediscover the pieces that are wistful or connected, and I notice that certain details are repeated by several writers. I enjoy stopping to investigate them.
I prayed about the verses below. The topic of the Holy Spirit is always complex. Who is he really? The Father and the Son have clear roles and identities. The Holy Spirit is apparently baptizing with fire. What does that mean anyway?

Read these verses below and then try to find time to read them in context. Think about other references to the Holy Spirit, those describing him as a Counselor and a Comforter.

Remember John the Baptist, cousin of the Messiah, who preached a message of repentance. He prepared the way for Jesus who then, in turn, left us the Holy Spirit. Put all of this together, and see that three books, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all report that John said this about his Messiah cousin:

In Matthew, John announced,  "I baptize you with water for repentance. He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
In Mark, we read: I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
And in Luke: I (John the Baptist) baptize you with water. But . . .He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 

 What does baptism by fire mean to you? Why do you think that the Holy Spirit's realm of influence goes beyond John's? Why do we need water and fire? Let's have lunch and discuss this. 

I know that we need the Son and Savior Jesus, our direct link to the Father. But Jesus knew that we needed the Holy Spirit, our direct link to His power. 


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