His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12 NIV)
What really stands out to me is what John DOESN’T say about Jesus. John describes a Christ who is bringing an axe, fire, and the Holy Spirit. What would someone think of they say a man walking down the street with an axe, gasoline and matches?
We have painted this picture of a soft and gentle Jesus, who, is more of a wimp than a God. Today’s Jesus is like the skinny guy in the Charles Atlas ads found in the back of old comic books. Kick some sand in his face and he runs away. Our society, and sadly the church, have branded portrait of Jesus branded on the minds of many, that defies anything found in scripture.
Jesus, of course, is not a bully wanting to throw everyone in hell. Neither is he a tough guy going around looking to find fault in everyone. But he isn’t a pushover either. John describes a Jesus who brings with him some tools: an axe to clear out the mess, fire to purge the impurities, and a spirit to brings new life; a sort of scorched earth policy but in a spiritual sense. Don’t take the analogy too far, however.
When we begin to regard Jesus as to whom he really is, then we can make the decision as to whether we will let him come in and clean our spiritual house, or, if we will put up the “no trespassing” sign.
Until then, Jesus will just remain a soft figure without any power…leaving us with no hope and a god created in our own image.