#912. Luke 3. review - John prepares the way (4/10/23)
This week, in our devotionals, we are revisiting certain aspects of the Gospel of Luke as we prepare to resume this series. Today, we will review some of the key insights we have gained from Luke Chapter 3.
To listen to this devotional, go to:
i. John prepares the way
In chapter 3, Luke tells us of the beginning of John The Baptists ministry in the the wilderness:
‘He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’’ (Luke 3:3-6)
John is the promised prophet who will prepare the way for the Lord to come to His people. The people had been waiting for the Messiah and now John is preparing the way for Him. However, some wonder if, in fact, John was the Messiah:
‘The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptise you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ (Luke 3:15-16)
John is clear and quick to teach the crowds that he was preparing the way for the Messiah. John describes that only He is worthy of worship and that He will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire - He will give people a new heart by the Spirit and will sanctify His people by the fire of the Spirit. This is what Malachi the prophet had promised:
‘I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.’ (Malachi 3:1)
ii. Jesus is baptised
As the crowds, responding to John’s call for repentance, are baptised we have the surprising moment when Jesus Himself is baptised:
‘When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”’ (Luke 3:21-22)
iii. Jesus’ genealogy
Finally, Luke records the genealogy of Jesus running through David and back to Adam because, as Adam’s sin has brought the consequences of sin on all people, so Jesus’ perfect life and death will end sin's effects for all people.
In response, what are some of the things that God wants us to learn from this chapter? Here are 3 ideas:
i. Jesus is the promised Messiah who was foretold. He has come to save us from sin and will also go on to complete His work by undoing all that Adam’s sin has caused. As we look back at all that Jesus has done, may we also look into the future with great hope.
ii. John called people to repent in practical ways. We are to live worthy of our calling. Are we seeking to live holy lives as the Spirit's 'fire' continues to purify us?
iii. Jesus' baptism was about Him identifying with sinners and was prophetic of His death and resurrection for sinners. Have we been baptised, and do we remember that it speaks of Jesus' death and resurrection for us and our death and resurrection in Him?
Finally, I encourage you to read Luke chapter 3 and pray about the aspects that the Spirit brings to your attention.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY -SIV WEEK
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Study and pray together - This week is 'SIV' Week.
Last Sunday, it was a joy to have a child dedication and a number of baptisms. It was also very encouraging to have so many guests amongst us to celebrate and hear the gospel. I hope we can see that this Sunday was a snapshot of what every Sunday could be like if we all got serious about SIV and praying about it.
Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus. As we begin, and sorry if this is a bit repetitive, let's ensure that we understand what our SIV strategy is.
SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
Discussion and prayer
As we look to restart our Luke series this coming Sunday, please read Luke 1:76-79.
How are we to continue the ministry of John the Baptist?
What does this text teach about our message and the source of our confidence?
Do you have any encouraging stories of how you've been serving, investing and inviting?
Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the places and people that God has given to you? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable?
Let's pray for ourselves and our community together. Let's pray for the particular people that God is putting on your heart. Lets pray for the Holy Spirit to empower and direct us in how to Serve, invest and invite.