At the time when the G20 nations gathered to talk world finances…and the NFL was preparing for week 14 of the season…and an executive from the Chinese company of Huawei was arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S. while the Chinese/American tariff war continues…and the nation said ‘Goodbye’ to President #41, George H. W. Bush… a voice is heard that is different.
Back in the days when the Gospel of Luke was being written, a person obviously couldn’t pull out their smartphone and check the Google Calendar for the current date. In those days, times were framed by important people and events that defined the moment. Even with our smartphones we do the same by referencing the past as when a child was born or a friend died. We still do measure the times by people and events.
So when Luke mentions the powerful people of that day, a time reference is being given for the reader. The listing of the names also gives a quality reference of what life was like for the people. During this time life was difficult as the people knew well of the oppressive force, the struggles of the poor vs. the privilege of the few and the crosses lining entrances into the city are not easily forgotten.
During this time, John son of Zechariah appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance and forgiveness of sins. He challenged all who dared to listen to repent and be forgiven for contributing to the oppression and the poverty and the death of that time. John son of Zechariah also encouraged all to prepare and make easy the way for all to see God’s salvation.
During our time, we reference life by the events and people in the headlines. Those referenced give a framework for the quality of life in these times. John son of Zechariah’s challenge still speaks to us today of a baptism of repentance and being forgiven for how we contribute to the oppression and poverty and death of our day. He encourages us to make it easy for all to see the salvation that comes to us in Christ.