Read: Luke 3v3-6; 10–14
John, the son of Zechariah, went through all the region of the Jordan, announcing a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This is what is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
‘A voice shouting in the wilderness: Get ready a path for the Lord, Make the roads straight for him! Every valley shall be filled in, And every mountain and hill shall be flattened, The twisted paths will be straightened out, And the rough roads smoothed off, And all that lives shall see God’s rescue.’
‘What shall we do?’ asked the crowds.
‘Anyone who has two cloaks,’ replied John, ‘should give one to someone who hasn’t got one. The same applies to anyone who has plenty of food.’
Some toll-collectors came to be baptized. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘what should we do?’
‘Don’t collect more than what is laid down,’ he replied.
Some soldiers, too, asked John, ‘What about us? What should we do?’
‘No extortion,’ replied John, ‘and no blackmail. Be content with your wages.’
Meditate: John the Baptist believes that God’s people now are on the verge of something new. It is time to prepare and anticipate. It’s like Isaiah said: God is going to flatten the mountains and fill in the valleys, because he is coming back to his people in person, back to his world, and he’s going to straighten everything out!
There’s so much in the world that needs straightening out. There is terrorism, famine, war and all kinds of bitterness. We want God to come back and sort it all out. But this process begins in the here and now, in our own lives. In our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in the simple, mundane tasks of life.
Pray: Lord, show me how my life can be straightened out, so that your healing, restoring power may flow through me to the world around.
Engage: Call someone with whom you’ve had a falling out and make amends