Luke 3:1-22 John baptizes, bear fruit worthy of repentance, share what you have.
Note – this sermon was preached the week of the insurrection and coup attempt at the US Capitol building.
John the Baptist is a neat character. He’s related to the Messiah, and is in the same line of work. On a certain level, John is the last Old Testament type character. John rants and raves, and gathers a crowd, and preaches from the wilderness. He preaches the justice and forgiveness of prophecy and he also rants and raves with righteous anger and indignation. He sounds like a prophet repeating for the 100th time the same message to the people of God, or like a parent repeating for the 100th time the same message to a child.
He preaches, the people seem to listen, and he certainly has the ear of power in Herod, but not in a good way. (in case you were wondering, he was remarking on the inappropriateness of the personal lives of political figures.) He ends up being arrested.
In this narrative, the baptism of Jesus and the clouds opening up are almost an afterthought. We get in one chapter a quick summary of what has happened, and also what will happen in the life of Jesus. We get to see it all, and hear that was Jesus is going to do is not incredibly different from what had been done in the past. John gets us through the 400+ year scriptural gap to the messiah, and in so doing, we get ready for Jesus to bridge the gap between heaven and earth.