I’ve been living in the hospital with a covid-pneumonia for the last week. It has been really disorienting. I’ve kept up with my daily reading plan, but haven’t been able to blog because I didn’t have my computer with me. One of the biggest challenges with the having the pneumonia was needing to be on oxygen. There were moments where it was very difficult to breath, let alone think or read about something with clarity.
When we are sick or dealing with isolation (to keep from getting sick) we can easily get distracted and it can be hard to think clearly. There is so much stuff to “binge-watch” on cable tv and streaming services. We can get wrapped up in different shows and characters because it’s easy to succumb to the mind numbing made-for-tv-dramas and reality shows that are out there. Yet, no matter how interesting these shows are to watch, they are not real. At best they are a distraction and escape from the real world drama we face. At worse they can become an delusional alternate reality were we find ourselves more worried about the fiction on a screen than the people in our lives.
As I read through the first few chapters of Luke this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the clarity that Jesus brings to the world. The world has long slumbered in sin and rebellion against the Lord. People were doing their own thing. It seems as though everyone has forgotten that God has promised to send the Messiah. Then the angel Gabriel appears on the scene, making announcements. Prophets and prophetesses show up in the temple. The forerunner, John the Baptist, is called and commissioned from the womb to be a prophet!
John prepares the way for Jesus, telling everyone to get ready for the Messiah because he is here! Then did you notice the clarity? John the Baptist preaches repentance! He preaches humility of being baptized for the sake of repentance. He uses plain language and addresses the issues where people live. You can’t enjoy the fruit of repentance without the work of repentance. That is how repentance works.
When Jesus comes to the scene, everything will only come into a sharper focus. John said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and Fire. The Holy Spirit would enable real works of repentance, the fire (fitting the motif of fire being judgement) would judge those works which are not keeping with genuine repentance.
What a mercy it is for the Lord to call us to repentance that we might see and enjoy the work of God in our lives. How scary it would be to live under a delusion that everything is “ok” because we just want to soothe ourselves. The more I hear this call to repentance through the scriptures, the more I see God’s amazing grace reaching out.
Father, thank you for the call to repent. Thank you for Jesus who came to give us life. I pray that we don’t live by distraction or in delusion but that we have eyes to see and ears to hear. I pray we are humble in our walk with you. I pray that we are quick to repent, filled with your spirit, and full of the works of righteousness that can only be done in you. thank you for your amazing grace. In Jesus’ Name.