May 14, 2016

Entering the Arena of Power

Luke 3:1-3

The word of God came to John . . . . He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

—  Luke 3:2-3

In today’s verses, Luke mentions seven people who were in power at the time John began his ministry. It’s important to understand this context. Power has a unique way of changing people. How they handle ­power affects their character. And these rulers used power to their advantage in destructive ways.

Let’s highlight just a couple of the names Luke mentions. Tiberius misused power for his own purposes. According to historians, Tiberius’s reign was labeled as dreary and pessimistic. Tiberius’s rule was a time of power run amok, unchecked, and destructive.

Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Gali­lee, used his influence as a ruler to take his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. He had previously married the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea, for a ­political alliance, but he ousted her in favor of Herodias. This led to a later retaliation by King Aretas.

Enter John the Baptist. His power source was the word of God. He came preaching “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” He spoke of reconciliation with God and the opportunity for a new start. This was a power for new beginnings, offered through God’s mercy.

What is your source of power? Is it the gospel of Jesus? Are you sharing that power so that ­others may experience it too?

Lord, you bless us with the power to bless others. May we use your Word and all our gifts, talents, and more to be a blessing for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!