Today as we dig deeper into the Gospel of Luke, you will learn how to have integrity in the ordinary things. John the Baptist had a purpose, a life calling and a message to the individuals in his culture where he lived.
Digging Deeper: Luke 3
Key Verses: Luke 3:10-14
The setting in history for this chapter is during the Roman Empire when Tiberius Caesar had been in power over Israel for fifteen years. His rule was marked by extreme cruelty and severity, especially towards the Jewish people.
- Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea who was known for his brutal massacres.
- Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee.
- His brother, Philip, was the tetrarch of Iturea, Trachonitis, Lysanius, and Abilene.
- At the time, Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests.
The rulers of this period of history were known for their brutality and cruelty, especially towards the Jewish population. We know this, not only from the Bible but from secular historical records that were kept.
Unusual Things about John the Baptist
John the Baptist was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth when they were very old.
He was a peculiar looking man who had lived in the wilderness for years.
He didn’t dress like his contemporaries but stood out in clothes made from animal skins.
His diet wasn’t very ordinary as he lived on locust and wild honey!
John the Baptist’s Warning
John the Baptist’s message was about Repentance. His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry.
More and more, the message of repentance is being pushed under the rug. It is being ignored or taught that it is not necessary for salvation.
If you saw him today, you would likely think he was a bit odd. He didn’t care what people thought of him.
He wasn’t afraid to preach a direct message to the rulers of his society. He wasn’t afraid of the cruel persecution so prevalent in Israel under the Roman Empire.
He would start off his preaching by calling the people a ‘brood of vipers’, undaunted that usually, you don’t start off a sermon warning the audience that they are a bunch of snakes!
He warned them that they couldn’t get into heaven because they were a descendant of Abraham.
He went on to say that the only way to salvation is through repentance. He preached a baptism of remission of sins. The idea behind that being that it is not only forgiveness but will bring liberty and deliverance.
His baptism of repentance identified a person with their need to get right with God and to be cleansed.
John’s Message was about Integrity in the Ordinary Things
John the Baptist’s message was simple and could have been for children.
So many of the people were blinded by the simplicity of the message and unwilling to give up their wicked ways and repent.
The people came to John in multitudes and were asking him questions. They asked, “What shall we do?” (Luke 3:10) and John replied,
“He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” (Luke 3:11)
Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” (Luke 3:12)
And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” (Luke 3:13)
Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)
John’s instructions in reply to these questions were quite ordinary.
- He encouraged the people to share
- That they be fair with each other
- That they would not be mean or cruel
- That they would be happy and content with what they get
These are the same things that we teach our little children.
We EXPECT children to learn these things. A, moms it can be so frustrating when our kids fight and argue because they haven’t learned these ordinary things.
BUT how often I fell short of more of these ordinary things than I care to admit!
God wants Integrity in the Ordinary Things
Do you think that what God is telling you to do is complicated and difficult?
In reality what God instructs you to do is to obey in the ordinary things.
- Integrity is the best way of showing your genuine repentance
- God does NOT require the impossible
- He does NOT ask the HUGE things
- God asks us to do the simple
- He asks for you to do the straightforward.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Do you struggle with having integrity in the ordinary things? These are all ordinary things that every person has issues with in their life. The important thing is, have you come to a place of repentance and laid it all at the cross where Christ’s blood was shed?