1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! 5 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, 6 and everyone will see the salvation of God.
This year, as in all other election years, promises of change have been shouted, tweeted and debated by presidential, senate and congressional candidates. The candidates promise us that their sweeping changes in political power, social power and economic power will smooth out our rough lives and help us all move forward. Each candidate’s campaign is very strategic and paints a wonderful world for us if he or she is elected, and a hopeless outlook if their opponent is elected. Consciously or unconsciously, we find many of our hopes hanging in the balance of an election.
Luke begins today’s scripture by giving us the historic setting. It was during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Governor Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, and the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas that the Word of God came to John the Baptist in the desert. God bypassed all the leaders of the time, with their political, social and economic power, and spoke rather to John, a man who had been seeking Him in solitude.
God told John about the coming of His kingdom and commissioned him to “prepare the way.” This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, who wrote, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight paths for him.’…And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
John preached throughout the lands around the Jordan, proclaiming the truth that God’s promises and kingdom power are what delivers hope to humanity through the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The world has been and still is broken. The Lord is seeking you and me to be kingdom builders by sharing the good news of hope, peace, joy and love to those around us and preparing their hearts to receive His salvation.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Where can you go to shut the world out and seek God and His kingdom power?
- Are you willing to campaign for the Lord, giving others the hope in the promises of God?
- It is often said that in order to change the world, you first have to change yourself. Find a time of solitude with God, fill yourself with His Word, and let the overflow of His love, forgiveness, generosity and empathy start changing those around you.
Pray for global workers Dustin and Carolyn, and their family. They have served in Sub-Saharan Africa and are in a season of preparation and training for their next ministry assignment.