"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Many resources have been written to offer assistance in exploring and understanding the lectionary texts for the purpose of preaching. However, few have sought to provide this kind of preaching commentary on texts that do not follow the lectionary's grouping. For those whose preaching does not customarily follow the lectionary, and for those who depart from the lectionary text during certain periods of the year, little guidance has been offered for how to select, and preach on, important biblical texts.
The Ten Commandments: A Preaching Commentary, the first book in The Great Texts series, gives guidance to preachers on preaching about this central part of faith. The principles by which volumes in The Great Texts series have been chosen are primarily two-fold: (1) Thematic: Texts on certain overarching themes or ideas of the Christian faith are brought together; (2) Biblical/traditional: Texts that have long been recognized as belonging together, and as being particularly beneficial to the work of preaching.