Rev. Elisabeth Sinclair
Jan 21, 2022
In Luke 3, John answered people who wondered if he was the Messiah, telling them, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Jesus’ baptism was different from John’s; being dunked in the Holy Spirit. What is the unquenchable fire? Purification and judgment. Psalm 29. Domesticated God versus fearsome God. We try to make God small all the time.
Michael Chan, professor at Luther Seminary: “Wheat, however, sustained the lives of both the rich and poor, making the image accessible to an economically diverse audience. “Chaff” refers to the husk of the grain, which was effectively the superfluous material remaining after harvest. It could not be consumed, and therefore could not sustain life.
The implication of this agricultural image is that Jesus’ ministry will act resolutely—sometimes even destructively—in service of those things that preserve and sustain life.”