“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
John’s message of repentance and confession of sins was accompanied with prophecy. Here are six examples in these verses for us to contemplate.
- “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” John was speaking to the religious leaders of the day and warning them of what would happen if they didn’t repent.
- “…he who is coming after me…” John is declaring that Jesus is on the way!
- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” See John 3:6-7, Matthew 3:12 The Holy Spirit came like a dove on Jesus and then as tongues of fire on the apostles in Acts 2:1-4
- “…he will clean his threshing floor…” Jesus will make all things new. A new covenant. The old has gone and the new is come and we are going to be made into new creations. 2Cor. 5:17
- “…gather his wheat…” His wheat! Jesus bought this wheat with his blood. This wheat – you and I – were bought by his own body on the cross.
- “…but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” A great separation is coming. The wheat gathered to Himself and the chaff cast away forever from His Presence. Everlasting burning judgement.
These prophecies have happened, are happening and are yet to happen. Our God is fulfilling His plan.
Father help me to remember that no matter what I see going on in this world you are in control. You spoke through your prophets like John and now through the Holy Spirit and Your Word. I can rest assured that all things are working out according to your will. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to Your purpose.” Romans 8:28 Thank you for this assurance that we are “the wheat”. Amen