The Luke Challenge- Chapter 3
John’s days in the wilderness prepared him for his ministry as the word of God came to him. The words of the prophet Isaiah resonated as he preached in the district around the Jordan River, a message of repentance of sins. The not-so-veiled message to the complacent and sinful Jews was that God would raise up sons from among non-Hebrews and that fruitless trees would be cut down and burned. He gave explicit instructions for actions that must be taken to transform the culture: share with the poor, don’t abuse taxing authority, don’t accuse falsely, be content with your wages….. so much so that people speculated that John might be the Christ. But John assured them that while he baptized with water, he was only the precursor of The One, you Jesus, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John’s reproving exhortations would win him the adverse attention of Herod the tetrarch and bring him imprisonment.
You, Jesus, and your cousin John had spent many years studying the Law and Prophets. You both knew well the stories of your special birth announcements and your special purposes. God’s favor and anointing upon you both guided your lives on earth and brought about God’s salvation for all people. The message today is as powerful and relevant for hearers of the Gospel as it was when John heralded it and when you lived it out for us.
I read again your lineage listed by Luke. God created us as his children, even as Adam and Eve were created from clay and rib. Physically, we understand this. You, Jesus, as the Christ, have made it possible for us to be spiritually reborn as God’s children when we were separated from God by our sinfulness, even as Adam and Eve were separated from God’s presence in the Garden. When we feel the conviction of your Holy Spirit, repent, confess and return to you, you are pleased. Even when we are separated from fellowship with you, we are never separated from your love. We never cease to be your children.
Grateful for your love, even when I deserve your discipline,