Gleanings – Made Better by Jesus!

1 Epiphany, Monday – January 14, 2013

“After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Religion is powerless. Belief in Jesus is immeasurably powerful.

“After me comes . . .” The Baptist is always pointing to someone greater. I must decrease, he says that Jesus might increase. Something better is on the horizon. This is the movement from religion to faith. Being baptized with water is trite in comparison to being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

So much of what is being sold in the church today is religion. In liberal form it is activism especially in politics. With a little (more) effort we will bring about the utopian society! Even Matt Damon finally realizes that isn’t true.

In conservative form it is the religion of self-help. “If I take these seven steps, . .” Or “If only I discipline myself just a bit more, . .” Anything done “religiously” is better than done secularly or haphazardly.

Power comes in Jesus. He baptizes with the Holy Spirit. There is nothing religious about this dunking. In fact few find room for Holy Spirit inspired exuberance in religion.

Jesus has to do with power, real power. He saves. He transforms. He heals. He inspires. All this he achieves in filling (baptizing) us with the Holy Spirit. He is the author and perfecter of immeasurably more.

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