Matthew 3:11, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
In the above verses John the Baptist gives a clear prophecy to what Jesus, the Messiah, was going to do for His people. John the Baptist was called “the Baptist” because he baptized (submersed) people in water for repentance. In other words, when people came to John and confessed their sins they were baptized in water as a sign of their repentance and re-admittance into the covenant God made with Moses and the Jewish people.
Jesus, however, wasn’t only going to do water baptisms in relationship to repentance and salvation (Matthew 28:19)- Jesus was also going to baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire. The fire is usually believed by scholars to be a reiteration of the Holy Spirit. Just as when Jesus said in John 3:5, “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit,” the water is a reiteration of the Spirit.
Therefore, in John 3:5 the Spirit is attributed with the act of birthing a new spirit in man thus water is used as an example like a woman’s water breaking in child birth and in Matthew 3:3 the Spirit is related to fire for the empowering of believers like how fire was used to forge weapons.
As a result, Jesus came not only to save sinners, but also to empower saints to be His witnesses. The baptism of water is related to repentance, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the work of the ministry. Just like how everyone is to be baptized with water, so everyone is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist understood how important Jesus was and how powerful His baptism would be that he said he wasn’t even worthy to “carry Jesus’ sandals.” Therefore, every believer should honor Jesus and seek His spiritual baptism.
- Ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
- Confess any sins, doubts, or fears you may have that can keep you from receiving.
- Ask others to pray with you for God’s power.