2nd Sunday of Advent 9.12.12 Luke 3.1-6

1 12 2012

When and What

Luke was many things: evangelist, physician, artist and writer – big time. Luke wrote about a third of the New Testament. This brief passage tells us he was also a historian. Notice how in the first verse he cross-references different histories to point to the precise moment when the word of God came to John.

Luke 3.1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’


To help give shape to the reflection I am going to suggest three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels. You might prefer to stay in one area. But beware of staying in your comfort zone. That’s rarely where profound preaching comes from.

‘Head Questions’

  1. Why does Luke care so much about ‘when’?
  2. Why does it matter ‘where’ the word of God came to John?
  3. Why does he quote the prophet Isaiah?

‘Heart Questions’

  1. Looking back over your own life – do you ever try to cross-reference ‘when’ significant things happened?
  2. What picture does the word ‘wilderness’ paint for you? How does it make you feel?
  3. Do you prefer the straightening or levelling images of Isaiah?

‘Hand Questions’

  1. What moment in your life is significant enough for you to know precisely when it happened?
  2. To whom might you say something helpful about repentance?
  3. What needs to be straightened out in your life?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up – working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.



One response

5 12 2012
12/9/2012 All Shall See God’s Salvation | ForeWords

[…] 2nd Sunday of Advent 9.12.12 Luke 3.1-6 (stephencherry1.wordpress.com) […]

Please feel free to add your own comment or question.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: