Year 2 Day 18
Read - Mark 1:5-8
Message - Alan Burke
John preached a ‘baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. There were many who came to hear him, those from all over the countryside even the big city Jerusalem (5). If this was today John would be filling stadiums if it weren’t for social distancing, but he was directing all who came to hear him in the message he proclaimed of one more powerful than him and the thongs of his sandals he was not worthy to untie (7). It may be lost on us, but most peoples feet were minging in John’s day, open toed sandals, with dirt, sweat, undoing sandals and washing the feet were duties not of servants but of slaves, no Jew would have done this for another Jew. And yet John a Jew is not worthy to untie his sandals
He wanted those who came to hear him, every single person who heard the message he proclaimed to look to Jesus, rather than draw attention to himself, he wanted people to know Jesus, he exalted the saviour not himself. Have we thought about that? What it means to exalt our saviour, is that our focus, is that what we point people to, the greatness of our saviour? Is that the point of everything we are to do, in how we love one another, is that what we do when we worship, or have we fallen into the trap as the world around us where we make it about ourselves, what we get out of christianity, about our felt needs, we make our organisations as a church our priority rather than worship and pointing people to our saviour. That is our task, one preacher put it this way… “we are poor beggars telling other beggars where they can find bread.” Thus, we must continually point beyond ourselves to Christ, refusing to puff ourselves up but submitting wholly and eagerly to Him as the only Savior. In ourselves, we are nothing. Christ is everything.
Ultimately John’s baptism was only a sign of the promises but he spoke of one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit it is that of his presence with those who have repented. Water baptism is the sign of the promise, but the Holy Spirit baptism is that of is presence This is not a second blessing, about spiritual gifts in the life of the believer, it is about the presence of God. Baptism is insufficient if it is merely an outward right, it is a sign of the promise but unless it is accompanied by true faith by the sovereign work of the Spirit in changing our hearts and granting us faith. We need the work of the Holy Spirit within us to be born again, to be saved from our sin and it is through the one who John pointed to, the one more powerful than he, Jesus Christ that there is salvation applied to us by the Holy Spirit. Let us thank God for his work in us by baptising us with the Holy Spirit.
Q32 What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, (Rom. 8:30) adoption, (Eph. 1:5) and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them. (1 Cor. 1:26,30)