“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Luke 3:16
As far as memory verses go, this one is exciting! Matthew’s 3:16 was about the dove coming to rest on God’s beloved Son, and Mark 3:16 about Jesus choosing his disciples. But here in Luke, the people are wondering in their hearts if John (the Baptist) could possibly be the Christ. This is his reply, to set them straight. (Did John have some special ability to know their thoughts? Perhaps he was just very wise and perceptive). While John’s baptism, with water, pointed symbolically to the cleansing Christ would bring, he knew this water could not save them. John told them to bear fruit in keeping with repentence, to show they were ready to receive the Son of God. Jesus would clean their hearts with fire, with the purification and power of the Holy Spirit. This was something no one else could do – only the God Man, Jesus, who would lay down his life for us, and pour His Spirit out on all believers. And just how it works is a mystery! But I am so thankful it does.
I also love the reference to sandals here. This ‘untieing’ would normally be done by a lowly servant, who would then go on to wash the feet of the wearer. John the Baptist says he is not even worthy of being a lowly, foot washing servant in comparison with the Messiah.
How I need to remember this, and not treat the Saviour of the universe, the one who baptises with FIRE, as my servant.