Luke 3:2

Be Ready But

Wait On the Lord

In Luke 3:1&2 we are given a specific time that the Word of God came to John the Baptist. We are also told he was in a specific place, the wilderness. When John received the Word of God he began to preach, announcing the coming of the Lord found in Isaiah 40:3-5. Beginning in Isaiah 40 the prophesy of Isaiah speaks of God’s plan for his people, the coming of the Messiah, the Great Tribulation, and the Millennial reign of Jesus. All of this begins when Jesus starts His public ministry. John is the forerunner that is to announce the coming of Christ.

John was in the wilderness when the word came to him. The wilderness was not only a physical place but also a spiritual place. The ministry of the religious rulers at the time was a ministry of behavior modification and works. The teaching of the religious rulers lacked the grace and mercy of God. Instead, they were focused on pride, prestige, politics, and money. In a hot dry spiritual wilderness they were clouds without rain and springs without water. Jesus came in grace and truth. John also said that Jesus had a higher rank than John. John 1:14-18

We are told in Luke 1:13 that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. At that time the Holy Spirit was not given as He is today. Jesus explained that He would be sent from the Father after Jesus had ascended to heaven. Jesus gave us great detail of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16 and in Acts 1:4-8. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us that the gifts Christians have been given are given by the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is in three areas. In John 14:17 Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would abide with us and will be in us. From the passage in Acts and Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians we understand that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit for ministry. Looking at the ministry of John the Baptist we can gain understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our own lives.

In John 16:8-11 we read that the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the heart of the unbeliever. That conviction is meant to make the unbeliever aware that they are living in a spiritual wilderness and to create within that person a hunger for something that is missing in the wilderness.  The Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer first guides us in our walk with the Lord, comforting, counseling, and reminding us of the Words of Jesus giving us wisdom and understanding. Even though we may be living in a spiritual wilderness like John, we too are an oasis in a wilderness where one can find living water.

In John 15:26&27 we read that the Holy Spirit will bear witness of Jesus as we just read. In verse 27 we read that we are to bear witness as well. Can you see what is happening? The Holy Spirit is working on the inside bearing witness and we are working on the outside bearing witness. As we bear witness it is the power of the Holy Spirit that is transforming a life with living water. The timing of this is based on the Lord. Only he knows the condition of the heart and when a person is ready. But, I believe we have a responsibility as well. When the word came to John he responded by preaching the word and those who had an inner thirst came. We are to be ready in season and out of season for the timing is up to God.

When Jesus, Peter, James, and John came down from the mountain where He was transfigured before these three, they came upon the rest of the disciples trying to cast out an unclean spirit in a young man. They were unable to cast the spirit out so Jesus did. Afterwards the disciples came to Jesus and asked why they were not able to cast out the spirit; after all, when Jesus sent them out to preach earlier they were given the power to cast out demons. Mark 6:13

Jesus told them this kind of spirit would only come out by prayer and fasting. So, is Jesus saying they were to stop and proclaim a time of prayer and fasting? No, I don’t think so. I believe what He was saying was that they were to have an ongoing habit of prayer and fasting in their lives. The implication is that they were resting on past experiences and thought they had the power on their own to cast out the spirit. The reality is that they were channels for the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through them. They could not produce the power in and of themselves, but they could be used of God if they had a surrendered attitude. Often it takes an extended time in the wilderness before we develop that much needed surrendered heart.

When we get to Luke 11 we will read that at the request of the disciples, Jesus taught them how to pray. We know that Jesus had a habit of praying but this time they asked Him to teach them. At the conclusion of the teaching in verse 13 Jesus tells them that the Father in heaven is more than willing to give them the Holy Spirit if they will ask. Jesus was more than willing to teach His disciples how to pray when they asked and that willingness serves the point of the teaching. One can be at an oasis in the wilderness where living water is available but one must learn to drink. John 4:10; Mark 2:18-20 (Note, in this passage, one can do the right thing but for the wrong reason as was true of the Pharisees but not of John.)

As Christians and disciples of Jesus we are to be in submission to Him following the example He set, being in submission to the Father. Philippians 2

As He washes the disciple’s feet He teaches that the servant is not above the master nor is the student above the Teacher. Instead, they are to be like the one above them. John 13:1-20

If there is one thing we can do to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through us for ministry it is that we are to have a right attitude and relationship with our Lord and Savior. May we always be found doing what He is doing and not found trying to depend on our own power and resources to do ministry. The timing of the ministry will be up to God. John was in the wilderness when the word of God came to him and then he started his ministry. Turns out he was  in the right place at the right time because he had the Holy Spirit within him.

Have you asked God for the Holy Spirit to empower you for the ministry He has for you. Are you waiting and dependent on His timing, believing that God has given you the Holy Spirit when you asked?

Don’t let fear and doubt move you from faith in God’s promise. You might be in the wilderness but you are still an oasis of living water.

 Be faithful. Be ready. Wait on the Lord!

Pastor Dave