Some messages are as real today as they were hundreds of years ago. Some stories that are so old seem to repeat themselves. Some messages need to be given today that were given so many years ago. Turn back to God! Even today as Martin Luther King Jr day is being celebrated, there is a message of hope being shared. A message where people were being judged by their inside rather than by their outside. A famous message that will never get old is: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Today’s reading is just one of those messages. It is when John started his ministry as the one to come before Jesus…
Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins.
Take a look around at what is taking place in this world. Take a look around at the state of people’s lives and what is being done and how people are living. If we look at John’s story from today’s reading and compare it to today, what do we notice? People are hungry for a message of hope. People are hungry to hear something positive. People are willing to go out of their way to receive a message that could change their lives forever. People are in need of wisdom and direction. People are in need of someone who will share the truth with them. Years before John, he was prophesied by Isaiah this way:
“Someone is shouting in the desert: ‘Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel! Every valley must be filled up, every hill and mountain leveled off. The winding roads must be made straight, and the rough paths made smooth. The whole human race will see God’s salvation!’”
Even in the Bible we see how a message can be given and shared again. Good messages never get old. So let’s hear what took place in today’s reading with John…
7Crowds of people came out to John to be baptized by him. “You snakes!” he said to them. “Who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. And don’t start saying among yourselves that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these rocks and make descendants for Abraham! 9The ax is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.” 10The people asked him, “What are we to do, then?” 11He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” 12Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13“Don’t collect more than is legal,” he told them. 14Some soldiers also asked him, “What about us? What are we to do?”He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay.” 15People’s hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah. 16So John said to all of them, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17He has his winnowing shovel with him, to thresh out all the grain and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.” 18In many different ways John preached the Good News to the people and urged them to change their ways. 19But John reprimanded Governor Herod, because he had married Herodias, his brother’s wife, and had done many other evil things. 20Then Herod did an even worse thing by putting John in prison. –Luke 3:1-20
Just as Isaiah foretold John, John foretold Jesus’s coming. There seems to be a cycle throughout history and I remember a quote that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. We need to remember where we came from and how it all began. We need to share the stories of our lives with our kids and friends so that they can know of the good news or else it will be forgotten. We need to remember who God is! We need to remember all that He has done for us! We need to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. We need to remember that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. So we need to be good stewards f the things we have for they came from God! We need to hold onto all that Jesus did for us so that we could be reconciled back to God! As today’s reading continues, let’s grab a hold of the new life that is offered to us!
25No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27Don’t give the Devil a chance. 28If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. 29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. –Ephesians 4:25-32
We need to allow forgiveness and love to be our guide and our way. We need to be helpful and not allow the enemy of our soul a foothold to be able to try and manipulate us and get us off track. Let’s get into alignment with God and His will for our lives. Let’s act in His will and His ways. Let’s not try to go it our own way and be lead astray. Let’s turn to God for wisdom!
65You have kept your promise, Lord, and you are good to me, your servant.
66Give me wisdom and knowledge, because I trust in your commands.
67Before you punished me, I used to go wrong, but now I obey your word.
68How good you are—how kind! Teach me your commands.
69The proud have told lies about me, but with all my heart I obey your instructions.
70They have no understanding, but I find pleasure in your law.
71My punishment was good for me, because it made me learn your commands.
72The law that you gave means more to me than all the money in the world.