I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
John the Baptist was preaching repentance and preparing the way of the Lord and he said I baptize with water but there’s one coming after me who is going to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire. Then John says, “whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor,”.
To purge is to cleanse thoroughly and perfectly. When we are visited by the presence of the Lord we so often have this almost unconscious feeling that we must be doing something right because the Lord blessed us with His presence. The reality is that when He visits us with His presence it’s not because we have arrived spiritually but it is because He is ready to separate the wheat from the chaff in our life.
In Bible days the wheat was separated from the chaff on the threshing floor by throwing the wheat up into the air and the chaff would blow away but the wheat would fall to the floor. Sometimes when the harvest would be picked up with the winnowing fork it would expose a serpent underneath the harvest. That’s why John had just previously referred to the Sadducees and Pharisees as vipers.
It can be dismaying when the Lord blesses us with His presence and then when He gives us an opportunity to display His marvelous works we discover a serpent. Sometimes you discover something in your own life that is still unlike Jesus after He has blessed you and that can be discouraging. Then there are those times when the Lord blesses us and we discover that someone we trusted turns out to be a serpent trying to bite us because we were working to process the harvest and share the love of Jesus.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”