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11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.


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11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance—(See on Mt 3:6);

but he that cometh after me is mightier than I—In Mark and Luke this is more emphatic—"But there cometh the Mightier than I" (Mr 1:7; Lu 3:16).

whose shoes—sandals.

I am not worthy to bear—The sandals were tied and untied, and borne about by the meanest servants.

he shall baptize you—the emphatic "He": "He it is," to the exclusion of all others, "that shall baptize you."

with the Holy Ghost—"So far from entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the honors of Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that 'Mightier than I that is coming after me' are too high an honor for me; I am but the servant, but the Master is coming; I administer but the outward symbol of purification; His it is, as His sole prerogative, to dispense the inward reality." Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ throughout!

and with fire—To take this as a distinct baptism from that of the Spirit—a baptism of the impenitent with hell-fire—is exceedingly unnatural. Yet this was the view of Origen among the Fathers; and among moderns, of Neander, Meyer, De Wette, and Lange. Nor is it much better to refer it to the fire of the great day, by which the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Clearly, as we think, it is but the fiery character of the Spirit's operations upon the soul—searching, consuming, refining, sublimating—as nearly all good interpreters understand the words. And thus, in two successive clauses, the two most familiar emblems—water and fire—are employed to set forth the same purifying operations of the Holy Ghost upon the soul.




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