“The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’” (Luke 3:15–17, NIV84)
The people who went out to see and hear John the Baptist preach were amazed at what they saw and heard. They saw a prophet who had the zeal of Elijah and the message of the Messiah. Everyone was left with the question, “Could this be the One?” To this, John’s immediate response in modern terms was, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” John was telling them that soon the Messiah would be coming and that he (John) was not worthy to untie His sandals. John told them that in his ministry they had experienced a baptism of water for the forgiveness of sins. But when the Messiah comes, he said, He will baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit and fire (Pentecost). John was clarifying that he was only the preparer of the Messiah.
Something else distinguishes the ministry of the Messiah over John’s. That is the Messiah’s ability to be the king and judge of His kingdom. John describes the Messiah as one who has a winnowing fork in His hands. The Messiah comes to redeem and to judge. He is not just a messenger. He is the Message. He is the Word of God become flesh that He might redeem and save the world from its bondage to sin and death, and in the end, He will be the judge of all mankind. We will all stand before His throne to be judged.
Today, may we live in the Spirit of Pentecost. May we hold fast to Jesus Christ who is the “author and perfecter of our faith.”