Prepare the Way for the Lord!
Day 3 of Jesus, I Need You – Part 2, a study of Thistlebend Ministries
Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-14
Observation: What’s the Message?
“Prepare the way for the Lord, make His path straight,” basically – get all of the obstacles out of the way. from repentance of sins to everything else in-between, the goal was to help people be ready to meet the Messiah. The hope was those who heard the message would turn from their own ways to follow Jesus. We’ve looked at this message several times in this study – focusing on various aspects of it. However, in Luke’s version, what drew me in was John’s conversation with the crowds who were coming to be baptized. I’m sure he captured their attention with his flattery. I mean who doesn’t want to be addressed as a “brood of snakes”? On top of that he critiques their behavior as sinful by challenging them to “prove they’ve repented and turned to God”, and their attitudes as arrogant, thinking they had no need to repent because they were ‘descendants of Abraham.’ He bluntly let them know that God could call or create children from any means He desired, even a stone. If that wasn’t enough he zeros in on the fallout they will face if they choose their way instead of God’s. Some may think John harsh but he was simply and faithfully doing what he was born to do – prepare the way for the Lord”.
“You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3: 7-9
Application: How Then Should We Live?
It’s not the first time we’ve read about “bearing fruit” in this study. We’ve looked at the branches and the vine as well as the gardener and how he handles the branches. However, the first time we looked at it was when Jesus was teaching His disciples – while this time it is John trying to prepare those who have yet to meet Jesus. He wants them to understand that their repentance must lead to real change that produces fruit that makes the change visible. He especially doesn’t want them depending on their heritage in Abraham as their saving grace. While salvation places us into a community of faith it is not a communal faith. What I mean is this, each of us must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. I can not get to heaven because my mother took me to church all the time or my grandmother had faith in Jesus. Nor am I saved because my grandfather taught Sunday School or my father was a deacon. Perhaps most who are reading this understood this truth before you read it here but John’s listeners would not have understood. The Israelites made up the crowd that John was speaking to, and being descendants of Abraham, he desperately needed them to understand that their heritage did not, could not, and would not satisfy the call of repentance
Prayer: Response to God’s Word
Father, from the beginning You called us to be devoted to You. For Adam and Eve it was that “one rule” – and through the generations since that time it has been the same – Choose Your way over what our eyes see as pleasing or our hearts desire. Help us to heed these words of John – and live in ways that prove our repentance, producing fruit that displays love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and all things in accord with Your Spirit. So that others will see Jesus whom You sent to save the world.
So what’s your take away from today’s Scriptures?
What are you doing or what can you do to prepare the way for the Lord?
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