1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
In his account of Jesus' life known as the Gospel of Luke, he wrote:
John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Jesus affirms here the baptism of John with water but announces a new baptism. It is not a replacement of but an addition to. John himself announced this second baptism of the Spirit calling it a baptism of fire. Clearly there is deep meaning and significance here.
Currently I am sick. Everyone in our house is sick. Worst flu we've ever had. To add insult to injury it cycles. You feel like you are getting better only to have it get worse. Disease used to spread worse than it does now until we figured out germ theory. Girolamo Fracastoro first proposed the theory in the mid 1500's but it took more than 300 more years to conclusively determine that tiny organisms invisible to the eye can make you sick and these organisms can be passed from person to person. This is why we see signs in public washrooms still today mandating employees to wash their hands. Washing the outside of our bodies is important in preventing the spread of germs that could make us or others sick. However it can't remedy sickness. If the organisms have already made their way inside your body and overcome your immune system no amount of hand washing or any other external washing will fix the problem.
What is the point of all this?
Water baptism has a purpose. It also has limitations. Spirit baptism completes what water baptism could never accomplish. It washes us on the inside. It is described as a baptism of fire because fire purifies. All through the Bible God compares the refining or purifying of our characters to the refining of precious metals with fire.
You will remember that after the 'last supper' Jesus talked a lot about the Holy Spirit and made the statement that "He is with you and will be in you." Again we see a transition from an external work to an internal work.
If we think about it, Jesus talked a lot about the outside vs the inside. He said the religion of the day was all about appearances. He compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs or cups that were only cleaned on the outside. Washing the outside is good but it can do nothing to affect or remedy what's wrong on the inside.
Think about the disciples. They appeared to be Jesus' followers. They were baptized with water. They were loyal. They were ready to die for Him. Then came the cross and they all failed. The inside didn't match up with the outside. Jesus was not done yet. The Story wasn't over. It was time to restore the inside with fire and have His Spirit fill them so that they were more than just appearances.
"Wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of My Spirit" - Jesus
If you ever wondered why Christianity seems weak and powerless today compared to back in those times there is a reason and the book of Acts will continually expose what that reason is.
See you tomorrow