John the Baptist said to them, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:11–12, ESV
John the Baptist, the forerunner of the faith, was out in the wilderness, warning the people of their sins and washing away the sins of the day. He was preparing the people for the One who would take away all their sins permanently. John’s baptism was one that would need to be redone as a ritual washing, but the baptism of Jesus Christ became a perpetual stream of living water washing over our souls. The waters to which we are called are renewing and refreshing, but more importantly, in the waters of Jesus Christ, we receive Him fully into ourselves in the Holy Spirit, who is our advocate. The power of Christ is greater than any, yet how often do we find those who use His name as a curse? The reality of our Lord is that with Him, we find our hope and salvation. Outside of Him, there is only eternal death and torment. John proclaimed this warning and spoke to the religious leaders of the day, who often followed God in keeping the letter of the Law, but their hearts were far from Him. God knows the difference between lip service and real faith. The name of our Lord is not a curse, nor is it a word of magic that we speak out to do our bidding or grant our wishes. When we call upon Jesus Christ, we speak the name of our Lord and the title that He holds as our King and Lord, the Chosen One and only Son of the Triune God. We speak His name because in it is His power revealed, and with the knowledge given to us through the Word through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, we know that He holds within Him the promise. To speak His name is a blessing, and to bring Him praise and glory.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.