Our scripture this morning is Luke 3:7-14.
When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” The crowds asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?” He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.” “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”
John the Baptist tells the people in no uncertain terms that they must change their lives. He challenges them to “prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” Only by admitting our mistakes and treating each other as God intends can we be saved.
John warns that our background, heritage and position mean nothing if we don’t believe and act in accordance with our faith. Jesus came to show us that only a personal relationship with God will save us from sin. Nothing we do on our own will matter in eternity, we must be connected to God and obey His will.
Different groups ask for specific instructions and John answers them, but it all comes down to treating each other as we wish to be treated – loving one another as Jesus does. We are called to action through believing in Him. Our faith compels us to go in His name, sharing the blessing we have received with the world.
Loving Lord, we often choose selfish things, only wanting to please ourselves. Help us to live and share in faith as You have taught us. Amen.