Sermon: Gerhard Weissenbrunner
John 1:29-42 Baptism with the Holy Spirit
“Jesus baptises with the Holy Spirit!”
This is the chosen topic for today’s sermon. And I must admit that while preparing for it, I was really looking forward to the interpretation of this topic.
The Holy Spirit – a spirit of joy, peace and justice – a spirit of strength, love and prudence – The Bible is full of definitions about the spirited work of God.
I have tried to describe a comparison between John’s baptism with water and Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit – as it is presented in the second reading – two types of baptism, which inseparably belong together, but are still different in nature –
I wanted to describe: what does the baptism with water by John mean and what does the baptism with the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ mean –
After 1 ½ pages I was quite dissatisfied – I realised that I had failed miserably – To describe the Holy Spirit would be like trying to put God into words – not even with the largest vocabulary in all languages would that be possible – to write about the Holy Spirit would be like trying to comprehend God – if anyone could do that, they would be more than God themselves –
No, I cannot reliably talk about what it means that the Lord Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit. May God forgive me for trying. I will never do that again.
On Thursday I deleted everything and threw away my notes! It was all for nothing –
So I had to start again. But what should I focus on this time?
The only thing I know is that God wants to live in a relationship with us. That happens in his Spirit. I can testify to that!
And God always takes the first step. God speaks to us. It is not I who is looking for him, but God is looking for me first. It is not I who knocks, but God knocks on the door of my heart. (Anybody home?)
God opens my ears, so that I may hear. God opens my eyes, so that I may see. God moves me, so that I may act.
God himself establishes the relationship – how, I don’t know! – when, I don’t know either – but at the moment this happens, I know: God is there, the great Spirit of Love is close to me –
I take the Bible and read: “Do not fear!” – and suddenly I feel very calm.
I read: “I am with you!” – and I feel the support.
I read: “be strong!” – and suddenly I am.
I read: “I love you!” – and I know, even if no one else ever says that to me again, God loves me, forever –
I read: “I give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak!” – and I see that things are going well.
I testify how the Holy Spirit confirms the relationship with me. With me and with countless people before me and after me. For this I read Romans 8:14-16: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received made you God’s adopted child. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
God himself tells me that I am his child – this is more than a feeling – suddenly I know this! Nobody else – just I!
Abba, Father! – Abba, Mother! – Abba, my God! – this is how I speak.
And God speaks to me as his child – I love you – you are worthy of me – no child of chance – wanted by me – nobody knows this – but I tell you –
And now walk the way that I will show you (Ps 32:8) – you don’t know this way, but I promise – it will be worth it –