Good news: mercy and justice!

Scripture reading for June 30th: Luke 3, Psalm 130, Proverbs 6

Luke 3:15-18 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all saying, “I baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached Good News to the people.”

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, created a stir among the people and religious authorities. His preaching called people to repentance and to baptism or washing of filth in expectation of the coming Messiah. This Messiah, according to John, would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would come to bring in the harvest of souls from the earth, symbolized by a winnowing fork, a tool that was used to harvest the wheat. The wheat would then be beaten on the threshing floor to remove the chaff. The Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, cleansing all sin and creating a new life. Sins would not only be forgiven, but consumed completely because Christ paid our penalty for sin. This message was “Good News” for sinners who were humble enough to repent!

Psalm 130:3-4 “If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great mercy in sending Your Son to take the fire of judgment for broken law on our behalf on Calvary’s cross. Thank You for Jesus Christ, our Messiah, providing us with an inner baptism of the Holy Spirit and cleansing us with Holy Fire from Your altar of mercy. But for Your mercy, we would be consumed in the fire of judgment as chaff instead of gathered into Your Barn!

Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

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