"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. ”
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Listen...to the words of the Scripture, and in them discover God's message for you today.
Look...at a brief verbal snapshot from the scrapbook of contemporary life and discover its connection both to you and to the Scripture passage.
Live...inside the Scripture to discover its context and message; then allow the Scripture to come alive in you and cause you to live out your faith in new and more-effective ways.
Read an excerpt from this study below.
As it happens, I am writing this lesson on the day before Christmas. As I read and re-read the Bible Lesson, then contemplate that in a few hours I will sit in a service where we will watch shepherds and wise men and the Holy Family, I smile at the disconnect between Chapter 5 of Revelation and the manger scene. What does that birth site have to do with a scene where “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11) bow in adoration?
Then I remind myself that, in truth, the two scenes fit together perfectly. Neither scene is complete without the other. By itself, the manger scene is a lovely and sentimental story, which is the way much of our culture insists on treating the Christmas season. Yet, if there were no manger scene, the triumph portrayed in the Book of Revelation would not be able to reveal the full wonder of God’s love. God’s victory began, not with a display of massive power, but with the humility displayed in God’s willingness to enter our world as a helpless, newborn child.
At Christmas we sing, “O come, let us adore him.” In God’s good time, a chorus beyond numbering will be singing that song.