Matthew 3:11-12 (ESV)
 “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.”
Jesus is the one who baptizes “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11). Jesus is the one who will “gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Mt 3:12). Eternal destiny is determined by one’s standing with Jesus. It is not determined by how well one knows the Law. It is not determined by how clean one appears to be externally. It is not determined by being part of an elite group. People’s eternal destiny is determined by whether they are considered wheat or chaff by Jesus.
That is the message that rocked the First Century world. This is the message that divides the world today. What is fascinating is John’s response to Jesus. Matthew 3:5-6 says of John, “Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” John had a following, but his only concern was pointing people to the one coming after.
When God chooses to use an individual to impact the lives of others, it is tempting to get sidetracked by the attention. John could easily have looked at the crowds coming out to him and been impressed with himself. He could have sought to retain his position of attention and influence. Too many preachers, teachers, and influential Christians have fallen for the attention trap. We must never forget that our goal is not to amass large crowds. Our goal is to point people to Jesus. Our goal is to become nothing that he might become everything. Our message is not, “Come and hear my great preaching/teaching.” Our message must always be Jesus. He is the watershed of the world. Let us never forget that truth. As we approach a new year, may our heart be reflected in this simple statement, "May this year be more of Jesus and less of me."