Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Luke 3:15-18 (ESV)
15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.
Have you ever received bad news that was good news? The diagnosis of an illness that needs surgery is bad, but also good news because now you can fix it before it gets worse. John the Baptist preached “good news” that Jesus was coming to baptize with the “Holy Spirit and with fire” and “clear his threshing floor.” That might sound bad, but is really good news if it leads us to get healthy in our spiritual lives before things get worse. Jesus baptizes with fire to remove the impurities and illnesses that plague our hearts. That is good news.