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.
I remember when I got my first pair of glasses. I was in grade school and when I came out of the optometrist’s office, I was astounded that the brown church building across the street was made of individual stones. I could actually see the grout lines between the stones. It seemed everywhere I looked, I realized I had been mistaken and that with corrected vision, I saw things in a completely new way. The way I saw things, from that day onward, was forever changed.
John the Baptist called on the people of Israel to be forever changed. John preached that the kingdom of heaven was coming and that the people of Israel needed to change their hearts and minds, to repent of their sins and turn their lives back to God.
John baptized them with water in the river Jordan, a symbol of Israel‘s deliverance by God from slavery in Egypt, into new life as God’s people. John’s baptism was a sign of a true conversion experience. But John tells them that one is coming who is stronger, of whom John is not even worthy to be a slave to, who will baptize them with more than water, with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This is Jesus, who loved us and died for our sins. At our baptisms we repent and our lives are made new by the love of God. We are baptized by water, an “outward sign” and we receive the Holy Spirit, an “inward grace.” We are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection and we become members of the family of God. From our baptism onward, the way we live and see things is forever changed. The Holy Spirit continues to be at work through us, giving us spiritual vision, so that we see the world in a completely new way, through the loving eyes of Jesus.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
As members of God’s family we are forever changed by our baptism, but often things happen and we forget to see people or situations the way that Jesus sees us, with love. How is your spiritual vision lately? Are things blurry? Do you need a check up, the ‘doctor’ is always in! Just pray. Are you seeing the world with the loving eyes of Jesus? Today, who needs you to see them through the loving eyes of Jesus?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, be at work through me today, help me to see where you need me to serve, help me to see clearly those in need, and let my life be forever changed by seeing through the loving eyes of Jesus. Amen.