‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”’
We begin our ‘Look through Luke’ this Sunday which will take us to Easter. We begin with the rather freaky and abrasive character of John the Baptist, called to prepare the way for the one, ‘the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie,’ and who will ‘baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire,’ and whose ‘winnowing fork is in his hand’. John called people to repentance and baptism, representing the forgiveness of sins and a fresh start. This was not just a comforting ritual but went hand in hand with the challenge to bear fruit in keeping with repentance: the same challenge the prophets had presented in the past. John’s advice is very practical to those who ask; and to those who don’t he points out they can’t rely on their Jewish heritage. Just as God raised up a nation from someone who was apparently too old to have children, so God could do it again. What is the relevance for us? We need to listen to the voice of God and respond. Don’t sit for hours waiting upon God wondering what you should be doing and how you should live your life. Don’t wait for hours for a voice from heaven when God is shouting loud and clear through the Bible. If we don’t hear, if we don’t respond then we are like the character James describes in his letter (James 1:22-25). Let’s be Kingdom fruit producers.