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Luke 3 English Standard Version (ESV)
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,
- John was not a smooth, comforting preacher. He was blunt and confrontational. He preached the message of the coming wrath of God and “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. This wasn’t an easy message to take, but people kept coming to hear him and even wondering if John might be the Christ.
- Likewise, when we hear messages such as John’s, our masks and pretenses are stripped away, and we are forced not only to face our need, but given hope in God’s word. And only when we face our own sinfulness, would we seek forgiveness, and find the new life in our Saviour Jesus.
- Are you in the habit of “direction change” (repentance) in your daily life? What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you lately on certain wrong “directions”?
- Take a moment to think about it. Then pray for God’s forgiveness. Pray also for the Holy Spirit to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”(Matt 6:13)