Luke 3: 1-12Â NIV, MSG, CSB
The word of the Lord came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet:
â€œA voice of one calling in the wilderness,
â€˜Prepare the way for the Lord,
Â Â make straight paths for him.Â
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
Â Â every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
Â Â the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see Godâ€™s salvation.â€™â€
Â When crowds of people came out for baptism, because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded:Â (MSG)
â€œYou brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (CSB)
8 Donâ€™t just talk of turning to God; youâ€™d better bear the authentic fruit of a changed life. Donâ€™t take pride in your religious heritage, saying, â€œWe have Abraham for our father!â€ Listenâ€”God could turn these rocks into children of Abraham! (Voice)
Â What counts is your life. (MSG)
9 God wants you to bear fruit! If you donâ€™t produce good fruit, then youâ€™ll be chopped down like a fruitless tree and made into firewood. Godâ€™s ax is taking aim and ready to swing!
The Word of God for the people of God, thanks be to God.
I want to share some thoughts then on three aspects of this passage.
1. First, this phrase â€œThe word of the Lord came to Johnâ€ Â
My NIV commentary says this refers toÂ
â€œThe source of John’s preaching and authority for his baptizing. Godâ€™s message came as came to John just like it came to the Old Testament prophets.â€
Heâ€™s of the same prophetic anointing.
2. The ministry of preparation –
The prophet said, â€œPrepare the way of the Lord.â€
What do you think it means to â€œPrepare for the coming Kingâ€?
John was doing the work of preparing the people morally and spiritually for the arrival of the Messiah.
The work of preparation involves:
1) Purification – involves cleansing of the head, heart, and hands. Simply put, to purify our thought life, our heartâ€™s intentions and the actions of hands.
2) Proclamation – declaring the word of God, the heart of God, the intention of God to everyone, everywhere. This is the good news of the gospel, that Jesus saves. V6. â€œAll people will see Godâ€™s salvationâ€
3) Setting Godâ€™s house in order.
So the operative question here is-Â Are you ready? Are you prepared? Or, as Dr. Robert Cook would say, are you sleeping on the job?
3. The nature of Repentance – Repentance requires an authentic change.
The Greek word here is Î¼ÎµÏ„á½±Î½Î¿Î¹Î± metanoia and it means a change of mind, to change direction.
So that the trajectory of your thoughts and actions is towards God, not away from God.
So for sure, that would mean moral piety, to forsake sinful behaviors.
But John is calling out the church leadership for hypocrisy and being so entrenched in their legalistic rule keeping. He is calling them out for â€œreligiosityâ€ – itâ€™s all fake, their religious practices are baloney.
He is saying – your ideas about being in relationship with God are all wrong – youâ€™ve got to change your wrong ideas about God.
Repent is more than just â€œgetting the sin out of your life brother.â€ To repent means to change your lifestyle, change your church culture, change anything and everything that is not aligned with doing it Godâ€™s way.
Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m doing this study, because we all have wrong ideas about God,
I certainly donâ€™t have the answers, I’m just reading the Bible and the commentaries and sharing what Iâ€™ve learned.
So we need to metanoia, to turn away from man-made ideas and application based upon that – to the principles of Godâ€™s word and Godâ€™s ways. This is the same kind of stuff AW Tozer would say.
An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly. I recommend that the self-examination be made on our knees, rising to obey God’s commandments as they are revealed to us from the Word. There is nothing romantic or colorful about this plain, downright way of dealing with ourselves, but it gets the work done.
Well, if you are involved in any way in the worship ministry at your church, your calling is to lead people in worship. And worship prepares the way for the King.Â And we are all called to repent so that we are among those who prophetically prepare the way.
Father, you have called us to be preparers of the way, for the coming of the King. Help us to bear the fruit of repentance. For Jesus sake. In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Daily Worship DevotionalsÂ is a 5-minute podcast dedicated to studying the Word of God and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Currently, we are following the Christian year calendar as our framework. Weâ€™re in the season of Epiphany â€“ theÂ Season of LightÂ and exploring the early life of Christ.