It’s not hard to imagine that, after 400 years of prophetic silence from God, this “voice crying in the wilderness” might have caused some misunderstanding.
“As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ” (Luke 3:15)
In our passage this Sunday, we’ll hear John make it crystal clear that he is not the Christ pointing all attention to Jesus and exalting Him as the One who is coming. And what will be coming with Him? Judgment.
“His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Luke 3:17)
This is why John had come proclaiming a baptism of repentance and urging people to bear fruits in keeping with repentance. The One to whom we all must give a final account was coming in the flesh and no one would be able to pull the wool over His eyes.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15–17)
He was coming into the world with a winnowing fork. And John said this was good news. “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.” (Luke 3:18) How was this good news?
Because the winnowing fork didn’t mean judgment had arrived, but that judgment was drawing near. Before that day, Jesus had come first “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20).”
Jesus is still using his winnowing fork today. This Sunday, through this passage, He will continue to lovingly call sinners to repentance, urging us to run to Him and cling to Him as our gracious Savior. For those of us who have already done so, we have these wonderful words of assurance.
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. (Colossians 1:21–23)
For those who have yet to trust Him, there is good news of great joy. You may know some like this. Would you call them this week and invite them to join you this Sunday to hear this message of hope?
This Sunday Erik Thoennes will be preaching Luke 3:15-20 and Justin Unger will be joining us as our guest to lead our sung worship. Would you please pray for each as they prepare? And pray that God would use our time of worship “to gather [more] wheat into his barn” and equip and embolden us to seek to do the same as we scatter into the week to come.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
Song Link of the Week
Hallelujah for the Cross by Ross King
What good I’ve done could never save
My debt too great for deeds to pay
But God, my Savior, made a way
Hallelujah, for the cross!
A slave to sin, my life was bound
But all my chains fell to the ground
When Jesus’ blood came flowing down
Hallelujah, for the cross!