… And he (John) went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3)
Luke anchors John’s ministry in human history by listing the Roman emperor, the governor of Judea, and the ruler of the northern province of Galilee where Jesus is living. John preaches in the region near the Jordan River. Huge crowds come out to him, but he is aware that some are here for the wrong reasons. Some are merely curious; others don’t recognize any sins in themselves that need to be washed away. John boldly challenges them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
These strong words challenge us to look deep within our hearts. John has come to prepare the way for God’s mighty Son. He calls us to recognize our faults and failings and humble ourselves before our God. This baptism is not an empty, meaningless ceremony. It is God’s solution to the deadly poison of our sin. Through water and the Word God washes away our sins, delivering us from death and hell, and saving us from His destructive wrath.
On the Last Day, Jesus will return to earth to execute God’s judgment. He will cast into the eternal fires of hell all that refuse to accept the forgiveness and salvation He came to win for them. Today is the day for you to escape God’s wrath and find peace and eternal salvation in Jesus your Savior.
Almighty God, You sent John to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of Your Son Jesus. Through the powerful words spoken by John, prepare me for Jesus’ second coming, that I may escape Your fiery wrath. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.