These questions are connected to the message, “I’ve Been Baptized so I’m Good to Go, Right?” from May 23, 2021. You can find it here.
Read or listen to this passage (Luke 3:1-20) in an unfamiliar translation of the Bible (e.g. New Living Translation or The Message). What stood out to you that you either never noticed before or you felt was speaking to you or that you’re challenged by?
- What piqued your curiosity, challenged you, encouraged you, motivated you from the sermon?
- How have you/do you generally understand “repentance?” Is it / has it been a feeling sorry for your missteps or a complete 180 — a changing of your mind, a reorienting of your whole life, views, priorities? Discuss.
- In v. 8 John calls them out for relying on “Abraham as their father.” That’s ‘bible speak’ for saying “we’re circumcised, we’re part of God’s chosen people.” What are some of the ways that we may be lulled into complacency — the practices that we might even subconsciously think make us ‘ok’ when in fact we might be missing the plot?
- What does John (and later Jesus) emphasize as the ‘fruit’ of a changed/transformed life? Can you name the areas in our lives where the Kingdom of God / the Jesus Way pushes against and challenges our comfort, complacency, default thinking/living, sense of moral uprightness?
- Does the idea of refining fire for our transformation frighten or thrill you? Why do you think God is so committed to our transformation?
- John calls out the crowd (ordinary people who probably think they’re pretty good), the tax collectors (the lowest of the low — extortionists & traitors), and soldiers (though they may likely have been Jews they are carrying the sword for Rome and therefore, the enemy). What is Luke saying by highlighting each of these groups?
- Notice that it is in the “wilderness” (v.2) that the word of God (Greek rhema = utterance, saying) comes to John. The wilderness is a common theme throughout Scripture: it was in the wilderness where God met the Israelites/Hebrews in a pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, and in the tabernacle. It was where God formed a new nation/people. The exile to Babylon (where the Hebrews learned that God was with them even in a foreign country) was considered wilderness. It was a place of trial and preparation and transformation. The Israelites, John, then Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness — what is the theological significance? What is being communicated through the theme of wilderness?
- Notice the contrast between the list of political and religious figures mentioned in 3:1 — many voices — in palaces and temples, to that of John — one voice calling out in the desolate wilderness. God seems to prefer to meet us in the desolate regions of our lives, in the least expected of people, places, and circumstances (John must have been a sight with his long hair and beard, sackcloth tunic, eating locusts and honey!).
- Notice also, Luke’s instructions when asked “What should we do?” in vv. 13-14. They are not heroic recommendations but simply doing your job with integrity. That is a great starting point to following in the way of Jesus.
Act on it:
- If you asked, “What should I do?” what might God say to you?
- Maybe you’d like to be baptized if you haven’t already been; to say “YES I want to be united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. I want new life!” Do