Devotions for Luke 7:18-35, John the Baptist
February 6-12, 2017
Monday, February 6, 2017 – John the Baptist
“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another” (Luke 7:19)?
Pat Collins was positive that the Lord was opening the door to a new job—a job she really wanted. Her boss offered the position to a co-worker and his action devastated Pat. “What is the Holy Spirit doing and where is the Spirit leading me?” she asked. After a couple of dates, Juanita and Miguel each thought that their relationship might have a future. Over the next several months, as they got to know each other better, they realized that their initial attraction to each other was fading.
John the Baptist had an expectation about the coming Messiah. He would be a strong political and religious figure. The Messiah would be someone who would overthrow the hated Roman government and establish God’s kingdom. Jesus was not who John thought he would be. Perhaps he was mistaken, he thought.
It is difficult to discern God’s leading and intentions. We often get it wrong and we are surprised by what God does. In the middle of our confusion, we can celebrate, however. The Lord continues to guide us, move in our world and, at times, astonish us.
Holy Spirit, open our eyes that we may see where you are leading and what you are doing so that we may be your faithful followers and servants. Amen.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 – John the Baptist
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard” (Luke 7:22a).
“You don’t really believe all of that Jesus crap, do you?” one of Carrie’s co-workers asked. “It just doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “Creation in six days, a whale swallowed a man, Jesus walking on water and after he did God raised him from the dead,” he stated incredulously.
Carrie refused to argue. “All I know,” she replied, “is that my faith in Jesus has helped me live for something bigger than myself. When my parents were killed in a car accident several years ago, Jesus surrounded me with his love. He held me tight, eventually dried my tears and gave me the strength to move forward.”
As his followers, Jesus never calls us to defend the faith. We are God’s witnesses, (Acts 1:8) telling people what we have seen and heard.
Lord, make us bold and loving as we share with others what we have seen and heard you doing in our lives and in our world. Amen.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – John the Baptist
“The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear” (Luke 7:22b).
People sometimes expect to see God‘s kingdom revealed in several places and situations. Some hope to see God’s kingdom prevail in the defeat of ISIL. Other’s want to see God’s kingdom experienced in answered prayer. Seeing God’s kingdom in comfort, security and affluence is what some people anticipate.
When Jesus answers John’s disciples, he doesn’t point to anything close to what the people were expecting. Instead Jesus points out the ministry to hurting people, transforming their lives and making them whole. If we want to see God’s kingdom, we can look for love expressed in words and actions. If we want to participate in God’s kingdom, we love people by our words and deeds and watch the transformation of their lives.
Powerful Lord, Open our eyes that we may see your kingdom. Open our hearts so that we may serve in your kingdom. Amen.
Thursday, February 9, 2017 – John the Baptist
“The poor have good news brought to them” (Luke 7:22c).
Poverty is not a pleasant human condition. A significant percentage of people, however, live in poverty in our countries, in which we live, and in our world. We may not be able to end poverty, but Jesus does say that an expression of God’s kingdom is to bring good news to the poor.
As disciples of Jesus, we can proclaim the good news that the plight of the poor will not be ignored. This might be done by us sharing our riches and blessings with the poor. We can announce the good news of God’s presence with the poor by participating in ministries that serve them. Showing the poor respect and treating them as equals are two other ways that we can bring good news to the poor. We can also join forces with others and work for a more equal distribution of the worlds resources to the poor. The good news comes in many forms to people who desperately need to hear it and experience it.
Lord, empower us to continue your ministry and to bring good news to the poor by our words and our actions. Amen.
Friday, February 10, 2017 – John the Baptist
“’What did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes” (Luke 7:28)?
An accident law firm advertises, “Who you gonna call?” It is an important question. When the proverbial substance hits the fan and our world falls apart, where will we look for help? Our human nature tells us that we should look to the people who are powerful and are in authority. In Jesus day, these were the people who dressed in soft robes. Often times, though, those are not the people whom the Spirit uses to meet our needs.
John the Baptist was not a person who wielded worldly authority or power. Rather, the Holy Spirit had empowered him. Usually God uses ordinary, everyday people to meet needs. Our family and friends, perhaps even members of our congregation, are the ones who stand beside us and help us through the difficult times. It’s a two way street. When they are in need, we are the ones who come to their assistance. What a privilege it is. The Holy Spirit uses us to meet the needs of another person.
Lord, send us the help we need, and enable us to be the help others need—to your honor and glory. Amen.
Saturday, February 11, 2017 – John the Baptist
“I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
How does one measure greatness? Certainly John the Baptist was a great man. He was committed to his cause. John was a persuasive speaker and he had a positive influence on hundreds of lives. He was the last of the prophets and the first of the apostles. People throughout the centuries would know the name of John the Baptist.
Still, the lowest one in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist. That would include all of us who identify ourselves as followers of Jesus. We have a ministry that is similar to John’s—we too prepare the way. The Holy Spirit has descended upon us and empowers us for ministry. One major difference, however, is that John announced the coming of God’s judgment and wrath. We proclaim God’s love and the salvation of all through the cross of Christ. Speaking in love and acting in love makes a great difference.
Loving God, may our love for you and for others be one of the defining characteristics of our lives. Amen.
Sunday, February 12, 2017 – John the Baptist
“They are like children … We played the flute for you and you did not dance, we wailed and you did not weep” (Luke 7:32).
Millie was a complainer. The weather was either too cold or too hot. It was too dry or too wet. She was too busy or bored. Millie was never satisfied, nor was she happy. People didn’t really like to be around Millie. She was a walking gloom cloud that covered the sunshine of any activity or celebration.
Whatever he did, Jesus could not please some of the people. John the Baptist came eating locusts and wild honey. They rejected him. Jesus dined with sinners and they rejected Jesus. All they did was complain. At the same time there were hundreds of people who were celebrating Jesus. He had healed them, cast out demons, fed them and gave them words of comfort and hope.
We can complain about how God is moving in our lives or we can give God thanks and praise. We can decide. Whatever we decide will make a difference on our lives and how we interact with others.
Loving God, you overwhelm us with your grace. Move within us that we may be grateful for all of your gifts, celebrate what you are doing and invite others to join us in the celebration. Amen.