‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. 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 will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
John the Baptist, knew of Jesus. He knew that Jesus was someone very special and dear to God. He uses the analogy of separating wheat from the chaff and warns that Jesus will do the same.
John is warning people to obey God and seek repentance else go into the fires of what I would presume to be hell. People are clamoring to John seeking a gateway or path to heaven. But John doesn't profess to be a prophet or the messiah. He plainly shares his limitations that he is only baptizing with water. John doesn't select who is good and who is bad, who is wheat and who is chaff. He does not judge. He does say though that Jesus will judge. And we learn later that Jesus, through his parables, will indicate how people will be selected.
John the Baptist, is simply the messenger. There's a saying, when one brings bad news, don't shoot the messenger. Unfortunately, John is later beheaded because his proclamations are seen as radical and contrary to the current power structure.
Dear God. Continue to push me toward love and away from hate. Give me the courage to speak of God's love. And let me live a life that pleases God so that I may be considered the wheat and not the chaff. With God's mercy I pray. Amen.