Our scripture this morning is Luke 3:1-6.
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And he came into all the district 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, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight. Every ravine will be filled, And every mountain and hill will be brought low; The crooked will become straight, And the rough roads smooth; And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’ ”
The Gospel of Luke gives us insight into the ministry of John the Baptist and how his call to service is the same for us all. His objective is to tell everyone of the coming Messiah and our need to repent. He teaches us “all flesh will see the salvation of God” (v. 6), the promise from the Father that all may be saved.
John the Baptist is often considered the last prophet to the children of Israel. He issues a call for them to seek God’s forgiveness and live new lives in the light of His love. He tells those gathered that he will baptize them with water but the Messiah will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
He also humbles himself, telling everyone he is only the messenger, and the message is that the kingdom of God has come near to us. We are all called to be messengers like John, to spread the Gospel to the world. God’s love for us has come to be with us as one of us, Christ the Lord.
Gracious God, You have offered us forgiveness and salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Your son, Jesus. Make us strong in our faith and send us to share Your love everywhere. Amen.