As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:15-17
John had gathered a following and they began to wonder if John was the promised Messiah or Christ. John had a task to do setting the table for the Messiah who had yet to arrive on the scene but John knew he was not the Messiah. While we do not know a lot about what John said or how he said it, we can see that John was a powerful agent of God. People were coming from all over Palestine to hear John’s call for repentance and to be baptized by him.
John knew that something infinitely better was coming. The Jewish people were about to see the culmination of one promise of God and the beginning of a new order and a new relationship with God. John knew that when Jesus appeared on the scene that He would bring the Holy Spirit to indwell each who chose to follow.
But there was more, something that got lost on many of the Jewish people living then and still gets lost on us today. Jesus came to make a way for us to get back to a right relationship with God but He also came to judge each and every one of us.
Jesus will gather the good seed, those who have chosen to follow Him. However He will also throw the chaff away from God’s presence. Those who have chosen not to believe in God and not to follow Jesus will get their wish for all eternity. They will burn with remorse and regret. They will be tormented by the real cost of their actions here on earth. And they will realize that they made an irrevocable mistake.
God gives each of us enough time and enough evidence to make an informed decision as to whether we will follow Him or not follow Him. Those who choose to ignore this evidence do so at their own peril. Unfortunately for too many there is just not enough evidence. They refuse to believe and cling to a naturalistic view of the world. They are unable to admit they need God. The plain truth is they do not want to give up their lifestyle. They are just having too much fun or so they tell themselves. They live by the motto, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Paul warns us of this folly in 1 Corinthians 15:32 when he writes If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
John warned the first century Jews what was going to happen. Paul repeats this warning in his writings. The entire New Testament is a warning to all what will happen unless we acknowledge God and choose to follow and obey Him. When the judgment comes none of us will have the excuse that we just did not know. God’s Word is written in His creation and in the Bible.
Have a blessed day,