“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)
Ok… so this quote from the Scriptures may not seem like it has anything to do with peace (which is our topic this week)… but it is one of the THE traditional readings for this pre-Christmas season (and the subject of our sermon on Sunday).
To set the story: these words were spoken by John the Baptist. This guy was radical! Everything he did… all the time… was to point people towards God and the plans God had for the world. The biggest piece of God and God’s plan was the coming of Jesus. John is speaking these words about Jesus.
The whole idea of ‘baptizing’ here is the idea of preparing people for a new start. Anyone familiar with ‘baptizing’ knows that it involves water… and water involves cleansing. Baptism was (and is) a way to express God’s plan to clean us up and give all of us a new start. What Jesus adds to this ‘baptism’ is the Holy Spirit.
More than just a ‘cleansing’ and a ‘new start’, the Holy Spirit is God’s very own self present and active in each life and each circumstance of the world. John the Baptist was looking forward to the day when Jesus would change the world by making God’s Spirit available to the whole world… so that the whole world could become what God wants it to be.
And this is where ‘peace’ comes in… Jesus DID come, which means God’s ‘new start’ and plan for us is under way.
Where can you find more reason for ‘peace’ than in knowing God is right here… right now!