Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Second Sunday after Christmas

Posted on January 4, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Luke 3:1-9 (NKJV)
3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.
5 ‘Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth;
6 ‘And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
God called John the Baptist to prepare the people for the first arrival of the Messiah by calling them to repentance. This, of course, is how we too can prepare for Christ’s second coming: Repent! God’s Holy Spirit makes you able to do that. As you read God’s Word, pray that His Holy Spirit reveals where your life is out of alignment with His holiness. Behavior matters. Character matters. And even more importantly, Christ matters! His Word is the most important part of repentance. Without Christ, true repentance is impossible, and you will never truly change. But with Christ, all these things are possible. As Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
After the Holy Spirit helps you to identify your sins, confess your shortcomings to Christ. And rejoice because He forgives you all of your sins. Your pastor says, “…in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins…” Christ died on the cross for all your sins. As you receive that in faith, you are forgiven.
That is when you experience true Christian joy. As Christ forgives you, He also goes to work on you through His Word and Spirit. In this way, over time, He reforms your character so that your behaviors also change. Most importantly, Christ matters.
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, direct our actions according to Thy good pleasure, that in the Name of Thy Beloved Son, we may be made to abound in good works; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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