There is so much information in this chapter about how we should live the Christian life, but when I got to verse 12, I looked at it as if it were a checklist for my life. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. When I am around other people, regardless of who they are, do I show them compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience? I hate to admit it, but I fail at these things more often than I’d like to admit and, based on Sarah’s comments on yesterday’s reading, it’s not a matter of me needing to just do it, I have to ask myself “why”? Why don’t I do the things that I know I need to do? The answer for me is simple… While Christ lives in me, I do not allow Him to be a greater influence on me than my own desires. In John 3:30, John the Baptist himself said, He must become greater; I must become less. I am no John the Baptist, which means, how much greater must Christ be in me for me to live the life He intended?
As we approach the end of the Gospels, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ final days on earth; and how the disciples experienced the ultimate miracle of experiencing the Risen Savior. I also can’t help but think of everyone after that time and the amount of faith it takes to believe everything we read in scripture. Jesus Himself states in verse 29, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” He is talking about us! We are 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ resurrection and we believe. I know we don’t live in a vacuum and it is definitely not all by our own will, which is why I am thankful to God for blessing us with the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit we have the constant reminder and helper to keep us in the presence of God and know He is truly the Risen Savior.
There are a few interesting things to me in this chapter. First in verse 11 where John the Baptist talks about Jesus baptizing with fire, ““I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” In my notes it makes mention that he is prophesying about the Holy Spirit’s baptism at Pentecost which we will see in Acts 2.
The second interesting thing is in verse 12 where he talks about the winnowing fork, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” A winnowing fork is used to separate wheat from the chaff (I had to read this in the notes… a farm boy I am not). Chaff is the outer part of the plant that is useless and is usually burned. The chaff is a picture of our sin. When we repent, the chaff is removed (like from a winnowing fork) and burned away. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard this explanation before, but I do find it interesting.
Finally, verse 17 where it says, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” made me think about how much I hope God will say the same thing about me when I get to heaven. All it requires of me is obedience because He has already done the rest.