LUKE: End of exile (Luke 3 v 1-6)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

Every great performer has a support act, who goes ahead of them to enthral the crowd and prepare them for the main act’s arrival. Jesus’ support was provided by the God-appointed prophet, His cousin, John the Baptist. So as we approach the start of the Lord’s ministry, we begin with John.

Read Luke 3:1

The present

• Why do you think Luke tells us who was in charge at the start of the main part of His Gospel?
• Why does John deserve our attention more than any of those political or religious leaders (v 2)?
• Where did John “perform”, and what was his message (v 3)?

The place and the act were both of huge significance. The River Jordan was on the eastern edge of Israel—beyond it was the place where God’s people had suffered exile from God’s land a few centuries before. Though the Jews had returned
physically from exile, spiritually they hadn’t. To go into the Jordan and then come out into God’s promised land was a
physical picture of what John was promising was about to come—a complete return from exile, a way back to relationship with God.

But the Jordan was the scene of baptism. Before John, baptism was the way non- Israelites had shown they were becoming part of God’s people. For a Jew to be baptised was hugely controversial—it said that they weren’t already part of the people
of God. Yet John called the Jews to do exactly that: to be baptised as a way of publicly admitting that they were not naturally right with God, and needed to turn back to Him.

The past

• Where had John’s ministry been predicted (v 4)?

These words were spoken to Israel while they were in exile.

• How was what John did, and where he did it, a fulfillment of verses 4-6?

John knew he wasn’t the main act. His job was to point forwards, to “prepare the way for the Lord” (v 4). He came to prepare people for the arrival of God Himself.
John pointed to Jesus in all he did.
• Do you do the same in your day-today life?
Wonderfully, God offers to forgive anyone who repents, or “turns around”.
• Are you a regular repenter?
Base your prayers on your answers to the “Apply” questions.

This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published January 30, 2012.

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