There are two sides to baptism: (1) what happens to the one being baptized based on that person’s intentions, and (2) what Jesus does through the Holy Spirit. While our intentions in being baptized are important, the work of Jesus in pouring out the Spirit on us to cleanse us and to live inside us is what allows us to accomplish our intended transformation (Titus 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). John the Baptizer had great power as a preacher to convict people of sin, call them to repentance, and point them to Jesus. Each of these is crucial in the lives of all people intentionally preparing their hearts for Jesus. John had incredible gifts, but only Jesus can baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Only Jesus can cleanse us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11) and then come and make his home in us through the Spirit (John 14:19-23). The greatest of preachers is not worthy of carrying the sandals of the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God; he is the only one capable of baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Righteous Father, your holiness is unattainable. But you have given it to us through the gracious gift of your Son on the cross and the cleansing, empowering, indwelling, and transforming gift of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus, we praise you almighty God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.