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 today’s verses, John the Baptist gave 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 initiation 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), but He was also going to baptize (submerse) people with the Holy Spirit and fire. The fire is 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. Both water and fire give different descriptions to what the Holy Spirit is like when it acts in relationship to our spirit.
In John 3:5, the Spirit is attributed with the act of birthing a new spirit in man, so water is used as an example of a woman’s water breaking in childbirth. And in Matthew 3:11, the Spirit is related to fire because fire was used to purify metals and its power could mold and bend swords for battle.
Jesus didn’t only come to make sinners into saints in rebirth; He came to purify and empower disciples to establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!
William Seymour said, “The baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire means to be flooded with the love of God and power for service.” Love and power are to work together for the glory of God in our lives. Remember, the baptism of water is related to repentance, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the work of the ministry. And just like how everyone is commanded to be baptized with water, everyone is also commanded to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. As a result, John the Baptist felt he wasn’t even worthy to carry Jesus’ sandals because Jesus’ baptism is so life changing and full of power! 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.