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.”
Authority. What an interesting concept it is to teach with authority. People are perplexed when it comes to definites. John the Baptist taught this way. Jesus also taught this way. Matthew 7:28-29 talks about this “28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” This was how the people felt with John the Baptist. He taught them so powerfully they were debating if he was the Christ, the Messiah.
John squelched those thoughts quickly. He tells the people who are there following him that he is not the Messiah. Not only this, they are following a man who is not even worthy to untie the strap of His sandal! What kind of a man would point to another man? Not many people would be willing to be lowly like John the Baptist. Furthermore, not many people would be willing to point to another man when people are giving him the credit and praise. We can take a LARGE lesson from this. Our society is centered around the “American dream.” We focus on the bigger, better, and more expensive thing. It is very rare that we rid ourselves of the things that are convenient for us for a hardship in which we can serve the Lord. John did these things.
Baptism is something the church today practices. We do this as a visual representation of what Jesus came to do. This is the purpose. When I was baptized I wanted to show the people who were at the service visually what had already taken place in my spirit. When I accepted Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit to come and guide me. I was Baptized that day with the Holy Spirit. The physical dunking under water was simply a representation of that. Nothing more.
The Lord will come as John says here. When He does He will choose who is the wheat and who is the chaff. Chaff is the outer casing of wheat, which is inedible to humans. The chaff the Lord will throw into the eternal fire where He is not present. The wheat, however, will be harvested and used by the Lord to glorify Himself. Can we see as Christians realize that the Lord has chosen us? Are we willing to be about His business as John was about His business or are we desiring to be the chaff; which, will result in us being separated from the Christ for all eternity? This is a choice we all make in our lives.