READING: Luke 2-3*
“What should we do then?
John the Baptist preached repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah, and he was apparently unafraid to take on anyone. In fact, his willingness to call Herod the tetrarch to repentance cost him his freedom (Luke 3:19-20), and ultimately his life. Entire crowds came to him for baptism, so I suspect he preached loudly and clearly.
What catches my attention in today’s reading are the responses of those who heard him preach as recorded in this gospel. He warned the Jews not to depend on their heritage for salvation, instead demanding that they produce good fruit. Their response was to ask for detail: “What should we do then?” (Luke 3:10).
The tax collectors — those often rejected by the community — also came to John for baptism, and they asked the same question: “Teacher, what should we do?” (Luke 3:12). Even the soldiers, who may have been local “police” or guards, came to the prophet with the exact question, “And what should we do?” (Luke 3:14).
In each case, John’s responses to the question (e.g., give to the poor, be honest with others, don’t extort funds) were illustrations of outward actions that showed inward transformation. Genuine repentance of the heart must be evident in obvious change of life.
While we do not know how genuinely committed John’s questioners were, we can know that their question was a proper one. It is right for each of us to ask today, “Lord, what must I do today that is evidence of Your transformational power in my life? In what areas of my life must I repent?”
In what area of your life must you repent today?
- Prayerfully ask the question that echoes throughout this devotion. Listen closely to God’s Spirit and His Word.
- Genuinely repent. Even as believers, we must daily deny ourselves and trust Him.
PRAYER: “Lord, what should I do? Teach me. Convict me. Change me. Bring me to repentance.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 4:23-25, 8:14-17; Mark 1:21-39; Luke 4:31-44
* first published in 2016