Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
(Luke 3:15-17, New Living Translation)
Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”
(John 10:22-26, New International Version)
Today’s Reading: Luke 3
Call out “Getachew!” in a random crowd in Ethiopia, and chances are that many heads will turn your way. Like Jones or Smith in the United States, Getachew is a common last name in Ethiopia.
A few years ago, my brother, Philip, waited in a busy airport in Nairobi, Kenya, for an Ethiopian delegate to arrive. He held a sign with the name “Getachew” written on it.
“Abraham Getachew?” Philip inquired of the first gentleman who responded to the placard in his hands.
Moments later, the two men were hurtling down a busy road, pleased at the successful connection and happy to have avoided the evening traffic. The light atmosphere turned heavy as Philip answered an incoming phone call. “Where are you?” a displeased voice asked. “Getachew has been waiting for you at the airport for half an hour!” Recognizing his mistake, Philip looked wearily at his passenger and replied, “It seems I got the wrong Getachew!”
The ultimate case of identity confusion took place in the New Testament. Because he taught and baptized them, people often mistook John the Baptist for the promised Messiah — and vice versa (see Matthew 16:13-16). But John was very clear in today’s reading, while he baptized with water, the Messiah who was coming would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3).
As we read a few days ago, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit from birth (Luke 1:35). When He was baptized with water, the heavens opened to remove all doubt that He was the Messiah, the One that God’s people had been waiting for.
Christmas reminds us that Christ the Messiah has come! When you turn from sin and trust in Him, you too will receive the promised Holy Spirit, whom Christ gives. The Holy Spirit guarantees that you belong to Christ and that your identity is solidly defined by Him and rooted in Him. And the Holy Spirit empowers you to follow Christ.
How do you notice the Holy Spirit working in your life today?
Who is the Holy Spirit and how does He work in the lives of those who trust Christ for their salvation?
Grace Balusi is a missionary from Kenya who is currently serving in Lilongwe, Malawi, with her husband Robert and their three children. She enjoys working with people in Human Resources and Leadership Development with Life Ministry Malawi. Grace loves reading, writing and anything chocolate.
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