10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics[b] is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Luke 2:10-20 Best Behaviour
John goes into the desert and prepares the way for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. How is this done? In this passage there is an attempt at a change in behavior that precedes salvation. It shows a number of things. Good behavior is still good behavior no matter who is doing it. We should expect good behavior from the saved and the unsaved. God’s standards of living are still God’s standard regardless of whomever is doing the living. Reforming a life might not eternally save a soul, but it has value in redeeming God’s world and causing the world to operate in God’s peace. Although humans can make some reforms in their attitude without Jesus, ultimately they will fall short in their efforts. Efforts at being right with God will only lead us to more awareness of our own need. People who are making moral reforms can only be completed in the one who completes the righteous requirements of the law which they are attempting to follow.
In our society today I have heard many Christians dismiss the moral behavior of those who are unsaved because they ‘don’t know Jesus.’ This is a horrible argument. Is the economy ruined by corporate greed and government mismanagement an excusable act because most of the players don’t know Jesus? Is a lie told by an unsaved man to enable him to continue in an affair excusable because, after all, we can’t hold an unsaved man to such high standards? Because God’s law underpins all reality, it is good for all people to live in subjection to it. Trying to live a better life will not get a person ‘saved’, but it will show them their moral flaws and hopefully lead to a profound desire for the grace and mercy that Jesus brings.
I am not a fan of moralism, but I want to be a good man. I want to be changed from the inside so that I don’t have to try to hard to behave because I am sitting in the presence of my God.
- What does John preach?
- What do the crowds ask John?
- Why should the people of Israel reform morally if they don’t know Jesus?
- Why promote morals and ethics at home, work, and school if people there do not know Jesus?
- How could the USA and UK reform morally and ethically?