Luke 3: 1-9 (ESV)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
The angel announced child, Elizabeth’s son; the Old Testament promised fore runner of the Messiah; John the Baptiser – turns up. With all the fire of an Old Testament prophet he turns up renouncing evil and preaching repentance followed by a changed life. He is listened to and the nation seems to be ready for the Messiah to come onto the scene. If you remember John is about to be imprisoned and lose his head. Jesus explodes onto the scene for 3 years and then ends on a cross. If that is how it all ends, why the excitement?
Prayer: our lives often pass along a twisted, unexpected and difficult path, help us to keep our feet on the path you would choose to have us walk.