Reading through the Bible together
John and Jesus begin their life work thirty years after their births (Luke 3:23). What were they doing while waiting? John lived in the desert (Luke 1:80) and Jesus worked as a carpenter in Nazareth (see Mark 6:3). But waiting time was not wasted time. John “grew and became strong in spirit. . . .” (Luke 1:80). Jesus also “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
What great work is God preparing you for during the waiting times of your life? When your life seems to be on hold, ask God to help you be strong in the Spirit and be filled with wisdom. Pray that you will increase in wisdom and in favor with God and men.
John waited in the desert until “the word of God came to [him]” (Luke 3:2). It was A.D. 27, “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” (Luke 3:1), the same year the angel Gabriel had told Daniel that the Messiah would appear (see Daniel 9:24-27). John preached, “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3), which came straight from Isaiah 40:3-5: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; . . . (Luke 3:4-6).
Have you accepted the Good News that Jesus wants to forgive you your sins? If not, please accept today John’s call to repent and receive forgiveness. Repentance means feeling genuine sorrow for your sins and a desire to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8), to live like Jesus. Read John’s reply to his listeners’ question, “what shall we do then?” (Luke 3:10-14). Will you follow John’s advice?
One day, while John was baptizing, “it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized” (Luke 3:21). Only Luke records that Jesus humbly joined others in responding to John’s call. If you have not been baptized, follow the example of your Savior and be baptized.
While Jesus’ birth had been announced by angels, His baptism was acknowledged by the Father and the Holy Spirit. “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). As they did at Creation, the Trinity united to save us. The power of the Trinity is available to you today in answer to your prayer as it was to Jesus that day on the banks of the River Jordan.
Douglas Jacobs, D.Min.
Professor of Church Ministry and Homiletics
School of Religion, Southern Adventist University