“I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” vs. 8
These words from Mark’s gospel are familiar…we hear them every year during Advent…but they’ve been ever so confusing to followers of Jesus. Our different perspectives on water and spirit baptism have led to endless debates and occasional division. During the darkest periods of church history, believers have even been killed because of varying baptismal practices. All Mark is trying to say is that there’s a difference between the baptisms of John and Jesus. With John, there’s an emphasis on confession and repentance…he was asking people to change their lives and start bearing fruit in daily living. Jesus doesn’t negate that in his ministry. In fact his aim is the same–he’s all about fruitful living. But Jesus adds power to the equation. Through the Holy Spirit, that special gift of God, we are actually equipped and enabled to produce the fruits that God has in mind for us. On our own we can have every good intention, we just can’t pull it off. But when the mysterious power of the Spirit touches our hearts we are transformed and the results are amazing. What we couldn’t do on our own, we can do through the Spirit, and that includes loving those who have different views about baptism! Nothing is more repugnant to the Christ than the endless doctrinal battles of believers…such behavior is most certainly not of the Holy Spirit!
Thought for the Day: Why can’t Christians just get along?