Luke – Wide Open Doors
Do you know people who just don’t seem to have filter when they express themselves in pubic gatherings? They seem to readily see what is going on in certain situations and cut to the chase with their personal observations of life as it is. They are not “PC”, politically correct in any way as they express themselves. We sometimes flinch and shutter at the harsh words that fall from their lips. We sometimes shy away because we’d rather hear about “life with sugar” that covers our sins of gossip, uncaring, and selfishness.
John has come into the world with a message from God. He chose to separate himself from the rest of the world to live simply. He grew up in the wild. He wildly believes what God tells him. He is passionate to bring people back to God. He sees the obvious sin of the people. He tells it like it is because of his intense love for God. He shouts the message people need to hear and He will not back down. Strangely, people are drawn to the wilderness, to where John is, to hear this prophet speak. He speaks Truth with no filter, no sugar coatings, and no political correctness. He was born to do exactly what he is doing…calling people out about the sin they daily engage in while preparing the way for the One and Only One who can save them.
The people who are listening ask repeatedly, “What should we do?” John quickly answers with simple Truth led by the Holy Spirit. There are no 3-point sermons here. His message is plain to hear and understand. “You are sinners”. John names the sin, calls it out and tells why it is wrong and how to come back to God. You must repent your sin to God. You must change your lifestyle to “prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Be baptized to publicly declare your changed, repentant heart. Then he tells of the Messiah, to clear up any misunderstanding the people may have, declaring that he is NOT the Messiah. He is only the one sent to tell of the Messiah who is coming soon. Very soon.
What should WE do?
To say we’re sorry isn’t enough. To be sorry we got caught in the act is not enough. Repent to God, in Jesus Name, for it is God we have sinned against. Then turn our backs on the old life and begin a new life, thinking more and more like Jesus. Be baptized to declare our repentance. Changed behavior, living God’s way, shows true repentance.
Luke 3, NLT
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!
5 The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.
6 And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”
7 When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?”
11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”
14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.
John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”
15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.
19 John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. 20 So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.
Would you go to prison for telling the Truth?
Dear Heavenly Father, Savior and Lord,
I repent of the sin that keeps us apart. Thank you for John. Thank you, Jesus, for saving our souls. Continue to teach us and hold us to the fire of your Truth.
In Jesus Name, Amen