Following Jesus involves putting ourselves last and putting Jesus and others first.
Luke 3: 10-14
10“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptised. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
John the Baptist was the first Christian preacher of the New Testament and he was travelling the country around the Jordan preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He was preparing the way for Jesus to be the Lord, king and saviour. But the people were confused. They hadn’t even seen Jesus, only hearing about him through promises made by God through his prophets. So they had a few questions.
These verses indicate specifically how particular groups of people were to live. People who are well off should share tunics and food with people who have none- a ‘work of love’ that went beyond the minimal requirements of the law. Tax collectors and soldiers (who policed the country) were to act honestly and justly. John wasn’t advocating radical social upheaval, but was insisting on moral principles that would lead to the transformation of society from within. He was trying to teach them to follow Jesus and to do the things that he would do.
The biggest and best thing about this passage is that following Jesus applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter in what position you find yourself in life. Whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a lowly servant, or are in a position of power and authority over others, the invitation is open for everyone. Following Jesus is something that everyone can do. Too often, I tend to look to myself and my own acts of righteousness, but as John points out, unless our good works are done through the power of Jesus and for the benefit of others, our good works aren’t that good at all. Following Jesus involves doing things for the benefit of others, even if they don’t benefit us. Just as Christ gave up everything for us, so we should give up everything for him.
Head: What do you think it would look like to live a life following Jesus? Is it everything listed in the passage? Or does it involve more?
Heart: What do you think our response should be to this passage?
Hands: What measures can you take in your life to put Jesus first in everything you do?
Prayer: Father God, we’re sorry for the times when we fall into sin and put our own desires before yours. Please forgive us when this happens and help us to turn towards you. Thank-you for sending Jesus to die for us, and I pray that his death and resurrection can inspire us to put the gospel first in everything we do. In Jesus name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy