On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” [Acts 1:4-5 NIV]
The word 'baptism' has been a hotly disputed term in church circles for many years.
Some dogmatically adhere to an immersion only formula.
Others ascribe to a pouring or sprinkling methodology.
It seems to me that those who do that miss the heart of the idea.
The idea that a new soul has responded to Christ's invitation.
One who was spiritually dead is now alive and wanting others to know.
Baptism reminds me of the many who came with repentant hearts to John in the Jordan River.
In this response the Baptist symbolized God's forgiveness with an act of cleansing with water.
That said, I think that, in this passage, Jesus speaks of an invisible baptism.
The idea of being baptized with the Holy Spirit seems different but similar to water baptism.
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples and those who had already been baptized with water.
In speaking this promise Jesus tells us two things:
- Christians have an ongoing need for forgiveness and spiritual empowering;
- God is present to respond to those needs.
The focus of this event is often the impartation of a permanent spiritual gift.
I think of it more as a needed and an ongoing process of spiritual cleansing and filling.
I repent Lord. Baptism me afresh in your Spirit. Fill me Lord. I so need you.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.