Carson Cowan – The Baptism of Fire, John 18

I am not so sure what the baptism was, but no doubt it was the testing experience. I think of Jesus Himself going through that. Jesus asked John to baptize Him by water, then going on into the desert was like the baptism of fire. First in our lives comes the baptism of repentance, then of water and fire. There will be a continual testing or baptism of fire. It will test us to see what kind of metal we are made of, through experiences we face. James and John proved they were willing for the baptism Jesus partook of. The Lord brings experiences to see how we are going to behave in a storm and baptizes us with fiery experiences. We can see how these men behaved in the storm in this chapter.


God’s people have a pattern in their lives. Judas knew the pattern of Jesus well and where He would be at this time. The world has a pretty good idea what God’s people will be doing at a certain time. Daniel had a certain pattern and they knew when to find him on his knees. Jesus knew certain things in the scriptures concerning His life had to be fulfilled, and put Himself in the place to fulfill them. It helps us when we know people are depending on us to be true and faithful and to fulfill our vows. He knew all humanity depended upon His being faithful in these experiences. The sop was given to Judas, a symbol of undying friendship. Jesus asked for vinegar even in the time of suffering, knowing it must be that the scripture must be fulfilled. It gives people a chance to see we are fulfilling scripture when we are particular about these things. Jesus said, “I spoke openly to the world,” living an open life, and that will also help us.


Jesus was purging His flour at this time. The Lord was applying the pressure of the fan or of the wind. Judas proved to be not the wheat, for he did not come through the testing. If we allow something to work in our hearts it will eventually get the victory over us. Jesus called him a thief in chapter 12. We could be a thief in the truest sense of the word in robbing God. There was something working in his heart he did not get the victory over. His wrong influence might have robbed Mary of an eternal reward, but now, wherever the gospel is preached, this she has done, encouraging Jesus to die, will be told. Mary had a real revelation and wanted to help Jesus to be willing for death. We appreciate those who have helped us to die.


Jesus tried Judas in the fire and proved there was no pure gold there. What was within came out; “all his bowels gushed out,” and he went to his own “place.” Judas stood with the men who came to take Jesus. The testing time came and proved where he stood. Some people live on the fence. The Lord knew where Judas stood but the disciples did not, for they asked the Lord, “Is it I,” when He said one would betray Him. When Jesus asked who they sought they said, “Jesus of Nazareth,” not Jesus, the Christ, not the revelation Peter had. Peter stood by the enemy’s fire and warmed himself. He was quite self confident just before. Satan was going to sift him, but the Lord wanted him to be bread for His people. The Lord brought this about to see where he stood. The Lord purchased his flour and found there was some wheat there. When Jesus was before Pilate He spoke of the cause for which He came into the world…the same cause we are here for, to bear witness to the true things. The silent voice of truth was going forth from the life of Jesus. He said nothing when they led Him to the cross, but there was a silent voice going forth.


There was a little girl who said, “I am the only one professing in my school but I am not professing. I want to be a light but I’m not lit yet.” She was a silent voice for truth though, because of what her parents taught her. There should be a ‘manner’ that speaks in a child of God, being different from the world. Jesus looked at Peter and it was a silent message, the night he denied Jesus, but Peter understood. Psalm 8 speaks of the sun and moon and stars, never saying a word yet reminding us of the silent voice that has gone out through all the earth. True bread has a silent voice in a meeting, feeding people. True worship has such a voice. True riches have a silent voice, for happy are those among us who are rich in the Spirit of God. They need say very little. What comes in the future is a storm, but keep a silent voice.