Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Text: Luke 3:1-14
This section of Luke details the message of John the Baptist. It begins by briefly giving the historical setting, telling us which governors and tetrarchs were in power. Interestingly, there were two high priests at this time. Annas was the original high priest, but he has displeased the Romans, so the Jews had established his son-in-law Caiphas as high priest as well. The Romans only recognized Caiphas, but the Jews recognized both! This was a perversion of their religion, as the Jewish law allowed for only one high priest at a time.
We see again that the word of the Lord did not come through the political establishment, or through the religious structure of the day. Instead, the word of the Lord came to John, out in the desert, apart from the power structure of the time.
“The word of the Lord came”… This is what every true prophet needs. The word of God for us today is what we need as well. We see that God was as work in this situation, bringing John His word and bringing him an audience.
What was the word that was given to John? Repentance, specifically “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. What was this baptism? This baptism had its roots in the Old Covenant – all Gentiles who wanted to enter into the Covenant had to be immersed in water. The Gentile body was considered unclean and had to be put completely under the water.
John famously referred to his hearers as a “brood of vipers”. They had the poison of sin within them, as do all men who have not repented and believed upon Christ. John told them to quit thinking so highly of themselves and trusting in their lineage from Abraham. Likewise, we today must humble ourselves and come to Christ without trusting in our Christian parents or church attendance, or any thing, but come to Him in true humility and true repentance.
True repentance is:
- A complete change of mind – we no longer want to be the ruler of our own destiny; we want God to rule
- A complete change of heart – we have a new love. Instead of loving ourselves supremely, we love Christ.
- A complete change of will – we used to serve ourselves and serve sin. Now we serve Christ and do righteousness.
“What shall we do?” asked the hearers. How should we live our lives? John’s response was that we should continue in our given occupations, working honestly, defrauding no one, giving to those in need.
This is a message for today, as well as for John’s day. Men and women still need to repent, to turn from their sins and receive forgiveness.