If people were coming to you for baptism wouldn’t you be thrilled and welcome, and encourage them?
In Luke 3 we see “crowds” coming to John, “The Baptist”. And he responds with: “you brood of vipers!” (vs 7). Hmmm, doesn’t seem like the most pastoral greeting.
He then challenges their motivations basically saying this religious event won’t save you, rather you must be changed from the inside and the evidence of this will be your life. He confronts their identity as Jews proudly set apart from others in the line of Abraham saying your proud lineage doesn’t amount to much either by stating: ”that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham”. (vs 8)
He doesn’t stop there, warning them judgment is coming stating: “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
By now I would guess most people at this party would go home. But this was a Holy Spirit event. They respond by asking: “What should we do then?” Whew! The party at the river can continue.
John responds telling them to be generous with their belongings and food. (vs 11)
Tax collectors ask: “What should we do?” Quit cheating people he tells them. (vs 12)
Soldiers ask: “What should we do?” he tells them to be content with what you have and don’t abuse power and influence by lying and extorting people. (vs 13)
He then testifies and points people to Jesus saying to all of them: ”one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (vs 16). Again, he warns them about the consequences of their actions and then: “with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.” (vs 18)
As we enter into Christmas let’s keep focused on the Savior. With all the fun decorations, celebrations, office parties, and music let’s be sure to not lose sight of the one whose sandals we are not worthy to untie. Let’s let Jesus change us so we ask: “what should I do?”