Words And Water

By now everyone knows things absolutely must change. Thousands are running away from a religion that offers form but no substance. It still looks correct but no longer feels right.

So they break out! On the loose for hope!

Matthew says they find it in the desert and in the water with an unlikely prophet. A preacher in camel’s hair and leather who tells them to get ready! Repent!


They’re right. Things must change. The kingdom of heaven is near.

The errant custodians of God come out too. They want to see where their flock has gone. They must have been surprised to get the same offer in sterner language – Repent or else!

But there is something much more important going on here.

John says I am just the warm-up. It’s ok to be excited, but I am just words and water. That’s all I can ever do for you.

But there is something more…Someone more!

One more powerful and more worthy! He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!

Jesus is not just words and water. He is Spirit and Life. He gets on the inside and changes our hearts. The kingdom of heaven comes, not in the desert, but within us.


  1. How often do we think about repentance?

    vs. 6 confessing their sins
    vs. 8 produce fruit in keeping with repentance
    vs. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance
    vs. 9 Do not think that you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our Father”

    The pharisees thought that they were righteous because of their nationality (Israel - children of Abraham) and through the keeping of the law. They gave credit to their righteousness as being their own. John tells them not to count on those things, but to repent. Others were confessing their sins - the Pharisees needed to repent.

    David understood the need for repentance. Psalm 51:16-17 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

    Typically, in prayers in church services I’ll hear “and forgive us of our sins” And we preach repentance as part of the steps of salvation (hear believe repent confess baptism) as well if any needs to ask for prayers of the church, including repentance in being “restored.” But how often do we truly pour our hearts out in repentance for the things we have done wrong? How often do we hear lessons on repentance? How often do we ask forgiveness for the things we should have done but didn’t do? For every careless word spoken? For not thinking of others before we think of self? For missing opportunities to speak up for Christ - or to reach out to neighbors? Are our hearts broken over our sin, or have we become nonchalantly reliant on forgiveness from Christ?

    Maybe we should read Psalms 51 more often.

    (By the way, I should change all the “we”s to “I”s)

  2. I like how you contrast "words and water" with "Spirit and Life."

    I spent some years focusing on just the "words and water" and discovered it isn't enough to change the inner person.

    Keep up the good work.