Thursday, February 7, 2008

Luke Chapter Three

Chapter 3 tells us who holds the power, who preaches with power and who is coming in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Reading: Luke 3.1-38

Scripture: "Eliakim was the son of Melea. Melea was the son of Menna. Menna was the son of Mattatha..." (Luke 3.31) (Ok, that was a joke. I didn't focus on the genealogy.) Here's what catches my attention: "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God." (Lk. 3.8, NLT) In the NIV it says, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."

Observations: John the Baptist, like Isaiah before him, called people who had lost their way to repent and turn back to God. When asked what they were to do to prove their repentance, he told those who had extra to share with those who didn't have any, and for those who were abusing their power (Tax Collectors and Soldiers) to cease their unjust ways.  

John the Baptist then points to two people who are polar opposites: Jesus, who is the one coming in the power of the Holy Spirit and approved by God; and Herod, who is the one in political power but is clearly disapproved by God. John doesn't pull any punches by naming Herod's sin, and Herod strikes back and wields his power by putting John in prison. Jesus is stepping into a volatile environment where real powers and real injustices clash with the gospel. I wonder how he'll rise to the occasion?

Repentance is more than a wish and a prayer, it involves changing one's ways. And the call to repentance involves challenging injustice, especially the abuse of power. The same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus is the same Spirit that John the Baptist says Jesus will baptize his followers with.

Prayer: "Jesus, help me to walk in humility by turning away from the things that destroy my soul, and where there are injustices, empower me by your Holy Spirit to speak the truth, even though it may cost me."


Laura K said...

At first glance, John's initial exhortation seems very harsh and close to legalistic. But then it is apparent that he is accepting people for who they are, in the place where they currently are. He doesn't rebuke the tax collector or soldier for being in those controversial positions, but instructs them in how to live a Godly life in their daily practices. This recognition is sandwiched between strong words telling of the coming King and Kingdom.
This is a great example of knowing the fragility of the message- he affirmed their current struggles- and boldly directed the new way.

traci said...

LOL Pastor Bill! the geneoligy (oh just GET OVER my lack of spelling skills!!) catches my eye this time of year cause I start in Genesis in January and so I am knee deep in lots of those names by now.
But the GRACE that catches my HEART is the continual theme of the NT (and really the whole bible) to take care of the lesser. (feed the poor, give your extra coat to someone who's cold).
Abba Father, am I stepping up to Your clear calling in scripture to reach out to other folks in meaningful ways to show them Jesus is alive and He loves them.

Gladys said...

"Bring forth fruits? What does that mean - am I a tree that I can do this?"

Not that anyone said this, at least not out loud, but I wouldn't be surprised that someone said it to themselves, not unlike Nicodemus when he asked Jesus how one could be born again and pondered out loud how one could possibly enter the womb a second time.

John didn't deride the multitude (including tax gatherers and soldiers) for asking . . . but graciously gave them various answers of what practical things they could either change or start doing. And they could take it from there.

Sometimes, what might seem so obvious to someone might not be that way to someone else. It doesn't mean they are less intelligent, but just not open to what God is wanting them to do. Or, more likely, something doesn't click just yet until they are told something quite simple and they say, "Oh, yeah" hitting their head wondering why they didn't think of it themselves!

The important question here is what they asked: "What shall we do?"

Is that your question? And, I can ask myself as well, what shall I do?

* * *

Hey, in v. 33 . . do you think this Amminadab guy is the forerunner of the Ahminijab (or however it's spelled) today??

Nope, of course not, wrong genealogical line ... TBTG (Thanks be to God!) Couldn't resist! : )

joedv1218 said...

I have been pondering this chapter for 2 days now. I don't know if I have ever thought about a passage for 2 days. I have read commentaries as well, and have adopted this posted on Bible Gateway, as I was on the same page but couldn't put it in my own words.

John asks, "Where do we stand as the day of God's evaluation draws near?" Since John comes before the period of the cross, he cannot tell the people to place their trust in the work accomplished there. Rather, he calls them to live as children of God.

If such a life was pleasing to God before Jesus' coming, surely it pleases the Lord to see it in his children today. Heritage and words by themselves count for nothing. They may point us in the right direction, but they do not lead automatically to blessing. What pleases God is responding to him and showing concrete kindness to others. Such kindness involves compassion and concern for those in need, an ethical value that has corporate and individual dimensions. Authority should mean not the wielding of power but faithful service.

Lord, thank you for this Blog Pastor is leading us through. It is just what I have been praying for. It aids in my own repentance to get closer to you. Lord I pray that when we are through this that I will continue to ponder, and digest Your Word in the same way.

Anonymous said...

The first couple of verses the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.....I thought it was noteworthy, if not funny, that with all the famous kings, governors, rulers, and priests, God chose to speak through locust-eating, desert-dwelling John in the wilderness. He continues today to use the lowly, humble and foolish to confound the wise and powerful.