He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Luke 3:3, 7-9
Many times, over the years, while driving, particularly through the United States, I got lost. I was going in the wrong direction. I had to stop, get directions, then turn around and go in the opposite direction.
When I was given proper instructions, and the right direction, I adhered to it. Consequently, I was able to reach my intended destination.
In the above text, John the Baptist called upon the people who came out to hear him at the Jordan river, to make some lifestyle changes. He called upon them to repent. Repentance is to change one’s wayward lifestyle and go in the opposite direction.
Our destination is not this Earth – it is heaven. However, to get there, we must make some lifestyle changes in our life. Unfortunately, that is not always acceptable for us to do.
John reminded the people that they had to do more than claim to be descendants of Abraham. Even if they did, as Abraham’s descendants, they did not follow in his footsteps.
Abraham was a God-fearing man who lived by every word out of the mouth of God. To really be the children of Abraham is to serve and fear God.
John was preparing the way for the Messiah’s first Advent. Today, more than 2,000 years later, we, like John, are pointing people to Christ.
Our mission, which was given to us by Jesus, through the apostles, is to build God’s kingdom here on earth. Like John, we help people to trust in God’s grace and mercy.
Because we have made some lifestyle changes, they get to see Jesus. Yes, people see Jesus through us.
Therefore, we should use Advent as an opportunity to point people to Jesus, the Messiah and His second coming. Advent is a reminder that our Lord came once as a baby in a manger and that He will come again.
In his first Advent, he was under the complete dominance of the power that existed, Roman dominance. His life in Palestine was constantly in jeopardy.
We are also reminded, when our Lord makes his second Advent, He will not come in poverty as He did in His first Advent. This time, He will not be under the dominance of any world power. He will be the dominant power; the only power that matters. All governments will come under His authority. That is the same message we give. Yes, that is the message for the world today. Amen.
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.