Luke 3:1–6 NKJV – “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.’ ””
Summary – The theme playing in the symphony of Advent 2 readings is the Preparation of John the Baptizer for Christ’s ministry, which still call to mind the theme of the final (escatological) purification. For example – Mal. 3:2: “But who can endure the day of his coming.” Phil. 1:6-11: “[He] who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ . . .the harvest of righteousness” Luke 3:6: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” All of this is due to God’s covenant faithfulness (“messenger of the covenant,” “the oath that he swore” Luke 1:73). Therefore, because of God’s covenant faithfulness, He prepares His people for His salvation in Christ.
The Lord Prepared the World Historically – It happened in history, “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea.” Tiberius was Roman emperor from 14-37 (A.D., anno Domini) which makes this about 28 A.D.
The Lord Prepared Israel Prophetically – Isaiah and many prophets had promised both the judgment of Israel (in the flesh) and the salvation of remnant Israel. Israel was to cling to the promises that the place would be “leveled” and “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
The Lord Prepared His People Spiritually – The Word came to John in the wilderness (outside of the temple). For those who were spiritually prepared, he preached “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
Insight – Have you ever awaited the arrival of someone special to you, perhaps a family member or old family friend? Sometimes doing this we prepare what we will say, how we will respond, questions to ask . . . In the time of John the Baptist, the people needed to recognize the corruption of their temple and place their hope in Messiah through repentance. We must also Prepare. Repentance is often picture as a complete change, a 180 degree turn. But in our lives as believers it is more like a midcourse correction of a ship or a space ship. You will not land on the moon without little shifts. What “repentances” would change in your course to know Christ’s full salvation to keep your life from being flattened?