December 14, 2022

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
- Luke 3.10-16 -
Today's reading describes the ministry of Jesus' cousin John the Baptizer. John's ministry was to go and prepare the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah. We read that John was preaching a message that the Kingdom of God had arrived and calling people to repentance in order to be a part of this new kingdom.

When people ask John what they must do to enter into God's Kingdom, John gives answers that sound much like the kind of things Jesus would later preach: generosity, fairness, honesty, integrity, and kindness.

But he also indicates that there's more to the Kingdom than simply a list of rules to follow. He says that when the Christ comes, he will "baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." This is the promise: in the new kingdom we will be called to live a lifestyle of holiness unto the Lord. But we will not be expected to accomplish this kind of holiness in our own strength. Jesus will immerse us in and overwhelm us with His Holy Spirit. The Spirit will empower and equip us to live a new Kingdom lifestyle.

Today, pray for a fresh filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit that will enable you to live as a citizen of Christ's glorious kingdom!
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