Matthew 3:11-12 / Mark 1:7-8 / Luke 3:15-18…
John the Baptist raised expectations about the coming Christ. In fact, he did it so well that people started to wonder if he was the Christ. Like John, we have to be careful to keep the focus on Jesus, and not what He is doing through us.
John said that if they thought he was making clear distinctions between believers, non-believers, and make-believers, they hadn’t seen anything yet. From the context we see that the Christ will truly separate the wheat from the chaff. He will deliver some to glory and some to doom.
You will see the wrath of man any time you even speak of the wrath of God, let alone making it an object of worship and adoration. However, John said this made the Christ a greater one than himself. John could speak of it; Jesus will do it.
John said Christ will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The power of the Holy Spirit is what unites all believers (John 3:5-8 / 1 Corinthians 12:13). But what is a baptism of fire?
Perhaps John is referring to one and the same event, with the fire representing the Messiah bringing the purifying fire of God to His people (Malachi 3:2). It may include the persecution that disciples go through (Mark 10:35-40 / 2 Timothy 3:12 / 1 Peter 4:12). If it is some separate event, it would refer to the fact that Jesus was going to baptize some into judgment; they would receive the unquenchable fire of hell. In any event, this isn’t something to achieve, it is something to be recognized. These events will happen.
The point is this: Jesus the Christ is going to make ultimate distinctions. Jesus will gather you one way or another, into the kingdom of light or into the kingdom of darkness. This is actually good news for those who will hear it.