I am reading Luke 3 from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Here are a few of my thoughts. What are your thoughts?
- John the Baptist suddenly enters the scene, after hearing God’s call in the wilderness. His message for everyone was one of invitation to baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance for John was not simply saying “I’m sorry” and continuing in what we were doing, but a turning away from sin and turning to God. This change of life required action. John invited the baptized to demonstrate their repentance through their actions. Everyone was to share with people in need: sharing clothes, sharing food, and sharing money.
- As always, we are to be in the business of inviting all to join in the Kingdom of God. Luke records three groups of people in Luke 3: the crowds, the tax collectors, and the soldiers. Tax collectors were so unpopular in Jesus’ time that they had to take a military guard along with them in order to do their job. Both the tax collectors and the soldieries kept the Roman Empire in business and kept everyone else oppressed. Who would want them? If we updated this scripture into today’s language and culture, who would be the soldiers and the tax collectors? God wants them as well!
- This scripture reminds us to whom Jesus spoke and taught: people from a farming society. The images that John the Baptist used show us this: winnowing forks, gathering wheat, threshing floors, and chaff, or the dry parts of seeds that are inedible for humans, but edible for some animals, and often thrown away and burned. As 21st Century Christians, we read with different lenses than the first century Christians would have heard. Our worldview is different than their worldview, and our worldview is different than people across the world, and sometimes, across the street. Sometimes, we see things differently, yet the Scriptures and God are still relevant today.