Common English Bible (CEB)
John the Baptist’s message
3 In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler[a] over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler[b] over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler[c] over Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 4 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
A voice crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
6 All humanity will see God’s salvation.”[d]
Luke 1 (Common English Bible)
1 Many people have already applied themselves to the task of compiling an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used what the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed down to us. 3 Now, after having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, I have also decided to write a carefully ordered account for you, most honorable Theophilus. 4 I want you to have confidence in the soundness of the instruction you have received.
You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour each other, be careful that you don’t get eaten up by each other!
God has created us with the ability to make many choices about our lives, including how we reach out to those who do not know Christ. Our role is to take what we’ve learned from God and pass it on to others.
Why? Because there is a hurting world out there. It is a world where the majority of people don’t know Christ, and don’t think they want to know Christ.
And we all get to choose what we are going to do (or not do) about the people in our own communities and throughout the world who don’t know Christ. We get to choose how we will reach out to offer help to those who need assistance, to those who need to know someone loves them and that someone cares.
When Jesus was being talked about by the villagers in Jericho for befriending Zacchaeus, note what Jesus said to the crowd on that day, “The Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
This captures the heart and ministry of Jesus. Can we say the same? Is this our focus? We might ask ourselves the following: If people followed me – would they get to Jesus?
Prayer: God, give us a heart like the compassionate and caring heart of Jesus. Stir within us a passion and burden for those who do not know you. Help us to get out of our comfortable places and begin to see people like you see people. AMEN
The Rev. Daphne Moses
Chairperson, Order of Deacons-Memphis Conference
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REFLECTIONS FOR THE DAY | Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…
READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?