Luke 3: 1 – 6 John Preparing the Way
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar – when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene -during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
This is a fitting start to the story of Jesus’ ministry. John is preparing the way for him by calling people to be baptized for repentance so that they might see God’s salvation. All of God’s people have issues in their lives, in their churches, in their communities, in their nations, that are in the way of God’s salvation.
It starts with you. Pray that you might see yourself, your place, your actions through His eyes, that you might prepare yourself for more truly becoming Jesus’ follower in spirit and in truth.
Consider doing an Examen this evening.
Noon Day Prayers Question
Once you have settled in the presence of the One in whom we live and move and have our being, ask this question: “What is it in my life that you are calling me to examine, to sift through, to surrender, to act upon?”
This is an open-ended question that once asked has the power to transform you as the Holy Spirit will bring to mind many answer(s) to this question over the next six weeks. Sit now with this question, resting in your loving Lord’s presence, in the presence of your Abba.*
*Abba is the name Jesus told his disciples to call God. He told them to enter into God’s presence as a little child: Abba is like our Dadda or Momma. I like to think of walking with Abba as being a small child holding onto a parent’s little finger, exploring the world with the One who created us. And of course, an adult walking with God is aptly compared with an infant or toddler with their parent. The trust a tiny child has for their Mom or Dad is the trust we can have for our Abba.
Luke 3: 7 – 14 Fire, brimstone and advice
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.”
Our Abba loves ALL his children and wants us to love each other and treat each other justly and with compassion. “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” So no longer is it good enough to live by the law, to be honest in your dealings, to pray regularly, he wants us to take care of each other. We are to live by the Spirit’s prompting.
However, this is not some new law, rather a way to break religious people out of their complacency so that they could begin to see people with God’s eyes, not through the lenses of their righteous judgement and self-congratulations.
So in this season of Lent, let everything be up for grabs. Be prepared to question everything, our life-style, choices, etc., all in the interest of truly following Jesus, wanting to become like Him, wanting to become the child we were created to be. Trust the Spirit to lead you into and through a holy Lent, as we follow Jesus day by day through the words of Luke.