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Salvation's Other Side

Luke 3:9-11

Those who think that God will always be benign to everybody do not understand the gospel.  Salvation is only necessary because of God's wrath against sin.  His wrath will consume us all unless we repent of sin and shelter under the Saviour (see www.crosscheck.org.uk).  John's comment about the axe being already at the root of the trees refers to judgement, because the Saviour is also the Judge.  If there was no coming judgement, we would not need a Saviour: and if God has provided a Saviour, it is because we need to be saved from that judgement.  S

Salvation's Contentment

Luke 3:12-14

Salvation does not depend on what we do - it depends on accepting what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross.

Salvation's Announcement

Luke 3:15-18

If evangelists advertise their own abilities, and get people to submit to them, something is wrong. They are supposed to announce the Lord Jesus Christ and explain how to submit to His grace.

Salvation's Adversary

Luke 3:19-20

John the Baptist, like all true evangelists, called people to repent of their sins before God's Saviour came (Isaiah 22:12).  And Jesus continued with that message (Luke 5:32).  John preached about repentance to religious people, civil servants, and the military police (Luke 3:7-14).  And he was not afraid of rebuking the king.  John also wanted him to repent and receive the Saviour’s forgiveness.  But Herod Antipas, the governor of Galilee, was living in an adulterous relationship with Herodias, his half-brother Philip's wife.  It was wrong.  God's kindness led John to urge the great man t


Luke 3:21-22

The start of Jesus' ministry was remarkable.  Instead of a demonstration of wisdom by preaching or power by healing, He allowed Himself to be baptised (the Greek word for baptise means to dip, immerse, submerge and overwhelm).  John's baptism was the confession of sin and pledge of repentance.  But Jesus was God in a human body: He had no sin in Him.  So, why did He need to submit to baptism in which the water would 'overwhelm' His body?

Family Restored

Luke 3:23-38

Who was Jesus?  Luke had already written that the angel Gabriel said He would be 'the Son of the Most High' (Luke 1:32) and 'Son of God' (Luke 1:35).  Elizabeth prophesied that Jesus would be 'Lord' (Luke 1:43) and the shepherds heard the angel naming Him 'Messiah (Christ) the Lord' (Luke 2:11).  Then, at age twelve, Jesus identified God, and not Joseph, as His Father (Luke 2:48-49).  So, Luke was clear that Jesus is God the Son.  Yet before Luke started to unfold the story of Jesus' ministry, he paused to write a long list of 77 ancestors.  This is the human genealogy from which Jesus was

Appointment with Evil

Luke 4:1-2a

At first sight, this seems rather strange.  Why should the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, start with a direct encounter with Satan?  It is even more strange that the Holy Spirit is in the lead, escorting Jesus to His appointment with the Prince of Darkness.  Mark puts it even more starkly, "At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness" (Mark 1:12). The word 'sent out' is also used in the gospels when Jesus 'cast out' demons!  So, we know that this encounter with evil was the divinely deliberate, Spirit authorised, essential start to Christ's ministry.

Food for Thought

Luke 4:2b-4

Jesus was fully human. He needed food as much as we do.  However, His time of fasting was not an endurance exercise; it was dedicated to communicating with His Father in preparation for His first big spiritual battle.  As always, Satan thinks he can find an easy path with those who are physically weak.  Jesus was really hungry and empty, but on the other hand, He was hungry to see God's righteousness and so His spirit was full (Matthew 5:6).

Delegated Authority

Luke 4:5-8

Jesus had been led by the Holy Spirit towards an intentional encounter with Satan (Luke 4:1).  Now Satan was allowed to take the lead.  Of course, he had no right to lead Jesus, any more than he had a right to say that all authority had been given to him, or that he had the right to delegate that authority to anyone.  But God gives the devil permission to operate within strict limits so that God’s purpose is achieved.  It was true for godly Job (Job 1:6-12), and for Jesus who was betrayed by wicked Judas Iscariot (John 13:21-30).

Validating Identity

Luke 4:9-13

Satan's temptations have common themes.  Therefore they should be easily recognisable.  He loves to induce uncertainty and then propose an evil solution to resolve it.  The first temptation, of Adam and Eve, caused them to doubt God's command, His authority and His kindness in providing all that was good for them (Genesis 3:1-7).   Satan tempted Jesus to doubt His identity - despite the recent affirmation of Father God and the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).  Interestingly, Satan often tempts people after a 'spiritual high' while bathing in the knowledge of God's love, but when our guard may be