The second week of Advent for 2018 brings us to the launch of the ministry of John the Baptizer in Luke 3:1-6. In this passage, Luke specifies a time and place. In doing so, he gives us a context for the message John would deliver, which is the coming of the salvation of God.
But it also is a reminder to us that we live in a specific time and place. Our communication about God and Christ needs to be contextualized as well. We don’t share the story in Wisconsin the same way we share it in Georgia. The language isn’t the same, the time and place aren’t the same. The gospel needs to be located within that context.
And the message John preaches is one of baptism for the repentance of sins. This isn’t believer’s baptism. This a baptism of repentance, preparing for the coming judgment. A clean heart for the appearance of the Lord.
And that is the message of Advent. Prepare your hearts. Prepare yourself to hear the word of the Lord!
The Gospel text:
It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!
5 The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.
6 And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”