“What shall we do?” was the question. “the crowds asked” in our reading in Luke 3 today. You may recognise it as the same question the crowds asked Peter on the day of Pentecost, when Peter answered “Repent and be baptised”. But we saw today that John the Baptist gave a different answer to those that were coming to him to be baptised! We read in Luke 3:10-11 of that answer!
John had been giving them a stern message, he had even called them
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance …” (verses 7,8).
So what answer did they get to their question? Verse 11 says,
“And he answered them, whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise”.
They lived in a world of inequalities, the “haves” and the “have nots”. Most, if not all of us, find it is the same today. How many have only two sets of clothes in this country? One of the most important things Jesus said was, as we will soon read in Luke 12:15,
“be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”.
Today, getting the latest things on the market, getting more and more possessions is the main aim of people. John spoke as if having two of something was one too many – if there was someone with none! Attitudes were all wrong then, they are even more so today.
We should not let these attitudes influence us – but they do! We are surrounded by those who are Godless and as we complete reading Psalm 119 today we note the words,
“Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes” (verse 155).
There are only two paths, either for him or against him. David further writes,
“I look at the faithless with disgust” (verse 158).
But then the Psalmist becomes very positive,
“my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your words like one who finds great spoil” (verses 161,162).
Our heart needs to stop – and “stand in awe” and then “rejoice”. But we can only rejoice if we have unreservedly accepted the teaching of his word – then we will experience the wonder of being a child of God, for
“great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble … for all my ways are before you” (verses 165,168).