A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line - The Holy Spirit and Fire

28Apr

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900). You can find other devotions, sermons, essays, articles, and announcement on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information. 

 

If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

 

Luke 3:15-22

 

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. 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 granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

 

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.

 

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

 

Holy Spirit and Fire

 

 When answering the people, John said that the one who was coming after him would baptize with Holy Spirit and fire. Now if I’d been there, you know part of the crowd, I think I would have assumed that he was contrasting how the Messiah was going to treat the good and the bad. In other words, for those who were good, those who did what they were suppose to do, well, they’d be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And once they got the Spirit, they’d begin receiving all those blessings that I would assume the righteous are suppose to receive, stuff like health and wealth and happiness. I think you could call that was the “good” baptism. But for those who didn’t make the grade, their baptism would involve fire, you know, like the fires of Hell. In other words, they’d be punished. I mean, they could look forward to hot times, but not in any good sense, because they hadn’t done what I’d done, and they hadn’t said what I’d said, and they hadn’t experienced what I’d experienced. You see, as opposed to the good, this baptism would be reserved for the bad. Now I think that’s what I would have assumed.

 

 But, of course, now I know better. I mean, when John talked about Holy Spirit and fire, he really wasn’t talking about two different experiences. Instead, he was looking forward to Pentecost, when the Spirit rested upon the disciples like tongues of fire. And those who received the Holy Spirit, this wasn’t the trigger for blessings, rather it was a source of power, enabling them to follow in the footsteps of that other one on whom the Spirit rested, but for him it was in the bodily form of a dove. You see, because of the Holy Spirit and fire, this is who we are and what we’ve been called to do.

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