John- Part of the Shock Troops!
In the progress of our reading through the scriptures each Sunday we have come to the book of Luke, Chapter 3, verses 1 to 6.
We see the scene being set so that we can understand the world that Jesus had be born into and which as today needed a Messiah.
The people were in bondage and subjugation to another power. The religious system was corrupt with two High Priests operating at the same time!
The High Priests also colluded with the foreign rulers in order to line their own pockets.
It's into this situation that Jesus is to be parachuted by God to bring the answer that they needed. But first we are told about the advance party. The shock troops that will pave the way for Jesus.
God is introducing us to His servant John!
John is “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him".
Why does God tell us that this is top of John's job description?
Can I suggest humbly that God is looking at us in His church today and wanting us to tell those people within our sphere of influence about the Lord Jesus and the wonderful part He wants to play in their lives! Can I humbly suggest that He wants you to be an ambassador of love who makes a path for Jesus to come into their lives!
You may have thought about this yourself in the past but felt intimidated by the enormity of taking the gospel to the world. But that's not what I mean. What I mean is that we can be friendly to all our neighbours and let them talk about themselves. Let them talk about their families. Show a friendly interest in them in other words. Then when they see your genuine interest and talk about their problems you can introduce them to a loving saviour who wants to help!
This is how you can let Jesus into their lives to make every valley of despair be filled in and every mountain and hill blocking their progress be made low.
Perhaps when you see it like that you can see that being a modern day servant and friend of Jesus who has Holy Spirit living in you can enable you to be a modern day John, just by being your normal friendly self with Jesus as your guide in your conversations.
Now some of you may already have been led by God to develop these relationships with your neighbours and the next step is to bring them the solution to the problems that they may be facing; Jesus!
When you tell them that you and the other prayer warriors in the Church will pray for their wayward son or daughter, they will see in the real Jesus where the power will come from to make the crooked roads become straight, and how the rough ways can become smooth.
While you think about that and realise how easy it can be serve when you put your trust in Jesus and let His love shine through you to others I'd like to take a small digression.
Have you ever noticed how Jesus often linked healing in all it's forms with salvation in the bible?
As and example we can look at Matthew 10, verses 7 to 8. These verses say...
Mat 10:7-8 ... proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand'. ’Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons'.
Do you see how Jesus links proclaiming that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand", with "healing the sick"?
When people are led to be helped by Jesus, who loves them, the get to realize that His love comes without strings. But, having God's love change their lives, makes them want to love Jesus themselves.
Remember Jesus' saying - "He who has been given much, loves much!"
So, getting back to the message, when we just love people and show an interest in them as a Christians, we can get opportunities to bring them to know Jesus and be helped by Him.
From that they can develop an interest in Jesus themselves and want to learn more about Him.
So in this simple way we can bring help to our neighbours, who is anyone in our sphere of influence. In this way we will become one of God's servants and help Him such that as it says in verse_6 of our reading today in Luke, Chapter 3...
And all people will see God’s salvation.
That's what God wants for you; To be part of His advance troops.
If we put ourselves into the picture of the scriptures we read, we will see the part God wants us to play in the kingdom now as He illustrates it in the lives of His earlier servants.