The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
Saint John the Baptist was very popular for a while in His day. All kinds of people were coming from Jerusalem and the surrounding country to hear Him speak and, for many, to be Baptized by Him in the Jordan. During the Revival St. John the Baptist was leading, He was asked a lot of questions from the crowds. He was clear in His approach that everyone should do the “Right” thing per the Law – both Jewish and secular. He was also clear that He was not the Promised Messiah, Jesus – He was merely the “opening act” to the Eternal Performer that was prophesied in Isaiah 40:3-8. True Believers (and Followers) of Christ have let Jesus into their hearts and have been “Transformed” and Blessed with the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). This “New” mind allows them to clearly see right and wrong; and, while they know the difference between the two, they still have the free will from Jesus to decide one or the other. The Gospel reminds us that when we are unsure about what might be right or wrong in any situation, we should see what Jesus has to say about it. He is the Truth (John 14:6) and He always has the answers – whether or not we “like” those answers. So, let us be Baptized in fire and water by the Holy Spirit like St. John the Baptist said that we would be. The Good News is always Good, but it’s up to us to Seek It (Matthew 7:7)…to Seek Jesus and become the Gifts of Finest Wheat that leave this threshing floor behind one day to join Jesus and the Heavenly Hosts in Heaven.