Luke 3:15-22

“The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and 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.’ And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison. When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”

Luke 3:15-22

The people had great expectations. Their hearts and minds were flooded with questions. With the powerful preaching that John did, surely, he was the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.

John knew his place. He knew his job. He knew that he had come to deliver a baptism by water. Water baptism was a beautiful picture of the washing and cleansing that comes after repentance and a changed life. John was there to set the stage for the Messiah. He knew that the One who was coming after him would bring a baptism of fire, the Holy Spirit, who would wash and cleanse from the inside out.

And suddenly Jesus was standing there in front of John, waiting to be baptized. He knew he was not worthy to even untie His sandals. He knew he had no business baptizing the One who should baptize him. John knew his own heart and life and that he in no way measured up to the One who was standing in front of him. John knew.

But Jesus also knew that this needed to be done to fulfill all righteousness. And then, just as at the creation of the world, the Spirit of God descended. He came hovering over the waters. He appeared like a dove, a bird that broods over her chicks, caring, loving, protecting. And the voice of God broke through the amazement of the people. “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.”

The Messiah stepped onto center stage.

John’s part was nearly finished. He was placed in prison, where he would spend his final hours, before he was murdered by the wicked Herod.

John’s mission even before birth had been to point to the Messiah. His life had been lived to bring people to the Christ. His final moments were spent sending his disciples to Jesus to hear the comforting words that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

Mission accomplished!

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