Anyone familiar with the gospels has to admit that Christ’s ministry from start to finish was intense. He boldly confronted yet comforted, refuted while he refreshed, and he upended yet uplifted. His preaching and ultimate sacrifice for our sins brought us salvation as well as put into effect blessings that accompany the message of salvation. In Luke 12:49-50, the Lord stated:
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Expressing his intense spiritual desire for the people of the world, Jesus came to unleash a great spiritual fire which would bring light to dispel spiritual darkness. His fire would bring the heat needed to warm hearts and spirits made cold by the evils of the sin nature and wickedness of the world. His fire would unleash the intense spiritual flames required to purify the unholy and corrupt. In order for the fire to come full force, the baptism of his crucifixion, death, and resurrection had to be accomplished.
Those of us who are his disciples will find our lives and ministries following this same type of pattern Christ established. When we are set on living our lives for Christ, sooner or later we will show the concern for the condition of the world that Jesus did. We will notice all the darkness, coldness, unholiness, and corruption around us that at one time had a grip on us before the Father drew us to himself through Christ. Doesn’t it spark in us the eager and earnest desire to see Christ’s holy fire of truth unleashed on people in those circumstances like it was unleashed on us? Does our spiritual desire for them rise to a Christ-like intensity? Many of us who stand ready to be a faithful witness in close communion with God may just find ourselves prepared to experience a baptism of service and self-sacrifice. Doing so for the Lord’s sake presents us with opportunities to be the very vessels that help spread his holy fire.