13. John’s Teachings (continued)
15The people were all waiting expectantly, and all were wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.c
16John answered them all: “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.d
17His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”
c “Messiah.”—In ancient times oils were expensive and were used for ceremonial purposes, as well as to cleanse and protect the skin. Kings were anointed with holy oil at their coronation to show that they were consecrated to God. The term “messiah” comes from the Hebrew “mashi'ah” and means literally anointed one.
The Jews held many conflicting ideas about an expected deliverer, but they all agreed he was to be the Messiah, the Anointed One. The rabbis had gathered many passages from scripture that they believed were prophetic of a coming Messiah who would deliver them from bondage.
To the Jews the Messiah was more than a prophet—one who taught God's will or proclaimed the necessity for righteous living. The Messiah was to bring about the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. This was to be a righteous kingdom in which God, through the Messiah, ruled the nations on earth just as he already ruled in heaven. For the Jews, the coming of the Messiah signified the establishment of a divine world rule on earth, with its capital at Jerusalem.
The gospels were written in Greek and the Greek word for Messiah is Christ. In this restatement the word Christ is rendered as Messiah, Deliverer, or Christ, depending on the context.
d “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”—Here John contrasts his baptism with water, an outward rite, to Jesus' baptism with the Holy Spirit, an inner change of mind and heart.
Lk. 3:15 NIV • the Messiah. (Ch. 13, fn. c) / the Christ. (NIV)
Lk. 3:16 Spirit. / Spirit and with fire. (RSV) (135:7/1503)