Baptismal Gratitude

Trygve and Kristen Johnson

READ : Mark 1:6-8

I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (v. 8)

John the Baptist sounds like a rather outlandish person, living in the wilderness, clothed with camel’s hair. His diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. These characteristics don’t describe someone we would usually look to for advice, but they were the trademarks of an authentic prophet of God,
à la Elijah. And out of John’s mouth come deep wisdom and humility. Humility in this case is much like honesty: John honestly recognizes that he is only preparing the way for the far greater One who is coming after him.

John also recognizes that a big difference exists between what he offers his hearers and what the Messiah will do for them. John’s baptism of water was a symbolic recognition of sin, expressing a desire to agree with God’s judgment and accept his forgiveness. The Messiah’s baptism of the Holy Spirit offered more: genuine communion with God. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, our sins were taken up, paid for, and forgiven. Christ accepted the judgment of God upon sin and offered a perfect obedience to God, all on our behalf. By faith we can now live in reconciled relationship with God the Father, through his Son, and by his Spirit.

PRAYER

God, let us be grateful for our communion with you through your Son and your Spirit above all else this Advent season.