John responded to them all, saying, ‘As for me, I baptize you with water; but He is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the straps of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’
– John 3:16
Google’s English dictionary and Oxford Languages defines a firebrand as:
1. a person who is passionate about a particular cause, typically inciting change and taking radical action.
2. a piece of burning wood.
Until this summer, I never knew the source of the term “firebrand.”
I knew it meant someone passionate or radical about a cause. I guessed it meant to be “on fire.” I had never heard “firebrand” defined as a piece of burning wood.
Then a long spring, summer drought, and dry lightning combined to create a storm of fires that collectively decimated tens of thousands of acres in the Northwest near where I live. The smoke often obliterated the hills around us and choked the air with its acrid oppression.
We kept an eye on the local broadcasts to stay informed on the progress of firefighting efforts. One morning, a newsman stood near a threatened town with an update. He held up a piece of wood about the size of his hand. Firefighters, he said, were worried the wind would carry away burning pieces of wood to start new fires. He called this piece of burning wood a firebrand.
When Jesus left heaven, filled with the Shekinah glory, He was the bush burning, but not consumed.
With His sacrifice and resurrection, Christ redeemed us and set us, the humble wood, on fire. From the first disciples until now, the wind of His Spirit carries His fire from flame to flame, inspiring passion encircling the planet.
Have you caught the fire? Do you burn for Him? Are you willing to allow the Spirit of God to send you where conditions are right for new flames of faith to ignite dry hearts?
Are you willing to be His firebrand?