Judaism and Christianity
Luke 3:17
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner…

What were the characteristics of the revolution which Christianity wrought in the world?

I. IT WAS DESTRUCTIVE. It proclaimed war against the principles opposed to it. There are certain times in history when a great shock is necessary, and those are the greatest men who can see this and boldly risk the danger. There are times when it is too late to expect that the world can be saved by the instillation of good, times when the chaff is so multitudinous and so rotten that the wheat is in a double danger, the danger of being lost, the danger of being corrupted. The only thing then is to burn up the chaff at once with a fire which will not touch the wheat. Christ saw that the time had come, that the whole world of Jews and heathens was so choked up with chaff that a slow process would be ruin. He seized the moment, He accepted its dangers, and He sent forth ideas which flew along like flame, consuming, destroying, but also assimilating.

II. But if Christianity was destructive as a revolution IT was ALSO PRESERVATIVE. If Christ sent forth ideas which consumed the chaff, He sent them forth also to gather the wheat into the garner. No noble feeling, or true thought, either in Judaism, or heathenism, perished. They were taken up and woven into the new fabric, e.g., Roman law, culture, architecture — religion.

III. Its third element was A CIVILIZING POWER. Neither Greek science nor Roman culture had power to spread beyond themselves. It was of the first importance that some civilizing influence should arise which should permit of free development — which should save the world from the dilemma of being made altogether in the Roman pattern, or of remaining in barbarism. This was the work of Christianity, and it was done by its ministers, in the first place, not as apostles of culture, but as persons who spoke to the common wants of the spirit of man. The missionary spirit was the product of love to Christ. The civilization of the barbarians was the product of the missionary spirit. We also have our revolutions. That which is true about the great movements of the world is not without its personal interest to us, nor without its analogies in our life. The inner revolutions also, if it is towards God, is

(1)  destructive;

(2)  preservative;

(3)  civilizing, or sanctifying to the whole man.

(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

WEB: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Christ's Winnowing Fan
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