"What Shall We Do?"

Reading: Luke 3:1-20


John, the cousin of Jesus, prepared the way for the Messiah by preaching a baptism of repentance. This was good news (v. 18), but that didn’t mean it was always an easy or pleasant message to preach.

John preached his message in a time where both political and religious leaders would at least be wary of, if not outright hostile towards, him (see all the leaders mentioned in vv. 1-2 and Herod’s actions in 19-20). He grabbed people’s attention—not with placating pats on the back and tickling their ears, but a proverbial slap across the face meant to wake up his fellow Jews. He called them a brood of vipers, and he challenged their reliance on family heritage for salvation (vv. 7-9).

How would you have responded to such unsettling ideas? Ignore it, or act on it? Those in the crowd who chose the latter asked an important question: “What shall we do?” Even tax collectors and soldiers asked what the right thing to do was in their stations. John gave them directions that stemmed directly out of his larger call to action: “bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (v. 8, 10-14).

Consider what fruit you are bearing this week. Repentance is more than just feeling sorry or regret over sinful actions at one time. It starts as a change of mind that leads to an ongoing change of behavior, ultimately turning away from rebellion against God and, in the same motion, turning in obedience towards God.