Transcendent Becomes Imminent
- Was there ever a time when you experienced being in the presence of greatness – a great man or woman? Or have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone really famous? In Brad’s last few sermons he has explained just how famous John was at the time, and that many people came seeking him. But John went our of his way to say that the One following him was greater still. We often think of Jesus as our friend – which is absolutely true; but how might we miss or gloss over the greatness of Christ in our prayers and our reading of Scripture? The very rich and famous are just created people; they are human. Even a famous and righteous man – like John – still pales in comparison to our King…do we remind ourselves of this and experience awe of His presence in our lives?
- Jesus said John was the greatest prophet to have lived, yet still wouldn’t hold a candle to the least in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 11:1), and John himself said he wasn’t fit to take off Jesus’ sandal (Matt. 3:11). How is it possible to be so great, and yet, compared to those in the kingdom…not?
- Given what Pastor Brad said about the (rather disgusting) nature of feet in Jesus’ day, what is the significance of Jesus’ act of washing the disciple’s feet (John 13)? What part of us needs washed by Jesus to “have part with him”?
- John is saying there’s a difference between his baptism, and the baptism of the Spirit which Jesus will bring later. What’s the difference?
- Continuing that thought – what does John mean by being “baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire”?
- Sometimes life feels really unsettled, as though its just blowing us everywhere, as if we are untethered and unsure of what life will be like from day to day. How does the Holy Spirit anchor us to Christ throughout the violence of life’s threshing/winnowing? (Leaders: There is a sense of safety that we will not end up on the threshing floor, but in the barn. It is Scripture and the gospel that reminds us forgetful fretting people that our identity is in Christ).
- J.C. Ryle once said of Matthew 3: “Take comfort, I say once more, if you have really come to Christ. Take comfort, and know your privileges. Cast every care on Jesus. Tell every need to Jesus. Roll every burden on Jesus…He loves to see His people ceasing from the vain effort to carry their burdens for themselves. Only be among Christ’s wheat now — and then, in the great day of separation, as sure as the Bible is true — you shall be in Christ’s barn forever!”