Passage: Luke 3:1-16
Speaker: Caroline Lancaster
Series: Together, We…
Together, We…Love And Honor One Another In Our Differences
After 400+ years of waiting, Luke uses a familiar refrain to introduce the last of the Old Testament prophets: the word of God came to John in the wilderness. John fulfills the prophecy he quotes from (Isaiah 40), calling Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. This hope-filled message comes with a sharp rebuke against the Israelites, who were eager to avoid judgment through religious practices, like baptism. Group after group asks John, “What should we do?” John’s word to the people is essentially: prepare your hearts through true repentance that is evidenced in how you live (namely, live justly). Produce the fruit of repentance by caring for the community. Live generously, do business with integrity, don’t abuse power, etc.
To follow Jesus is to live justly. As a community, we move deeper than representation to seek the flourishing of all people. Let justice for the oppressed be evidence of God alive in us.
In the passage, the people wonder if John is the Messiah, but he clarifies for them that there is someone else coming, someone who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire: Jesus. Jesus who – through his life, death, and resurrection – proclaims good news, brings healing, freedom, and creates a new humanity in himself (Eph 2). Jesus brings a way for humanity to be restored to God, so that we may know life and flourish. As a community, we participate in God’s work of restoring all things, so that all people may flourish.