Tag: Luke 3:15-18

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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Preaching ‘Good News’

Scripture reading for March 15th: Numbers 30-33, Psalm 35, Luke 3

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 sandal I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, to clear His 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 was Jesus’ cousin, born slightly before Him. John was called by God to be a prophet and to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. In doing so, He confronted the sins of the people and called them to repentance and to baptism as an act of cleansing. This preparation was not the end, but the entrance into a new relationship with God. Jesus Christ would complete the work necessary for the cleansing of all mankind from sin and its power on the cross through offering His body and blood. He would take the keys of death and hell from Satan and open the curtain for all who would believe to be in God’s presence. He would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Father, and fire to deeply cleanse and empower them. This all was amazing ‘good news!’

Numbers 31:21-23 “Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, and everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean.”

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for preparing the way for Your Son to bring salvation to me and all mankind. I know that my faith through Your grace has brought salvation. Repentance too is a gift of grace received humbly by faith. Help me to share the ‘good news’ with those headed for the fire of Your judgment, that they might receive the gift of eternal life and be filled with the Holy Spirit and holy fire.

Psalm 35:27-28 “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, Who delights in the welfare of His servant!” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.”

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The Holy Spirit and fire

Scripture reading for March 5th: Luke 3

Key Scriptures: 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 His 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.”

Many flocked to John the Baptist who was calling Israel to repentance and symbolically baptizing them in the waters of the Jordan river. The baptism was symbolic of a washing needed to prepare them for the One coming who would further baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would come to gather the “wheat” into God’s “barn” and then to burn up the chaff in a unquenchable fire. Those baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire would become the wheat. Those refusing would be the chaff. John preached this Good News” to the people of Israel who would listen.

Luke 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for water baptism that allowed me to identify with You and Your work on the cross. Thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, marking me as belonging to God and empowering me to live a life of following You and preaching the Good News.

Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness who publishes salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.””

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