One of our local churches is in a high pedestrian traffic area, just off the main street, next to the post office and close to the library. In front of the church, there is an electronic sign which has a slogan on it, as well as the time of worship and some other worship and program-related information. At the beginning of August, the eye-catching slogan was, "No Fake News Here" and then the sign changed to say, "Just Good News".
These days, news comes into our homes at the touch of a button. There are so many conflicting stories and opinions that we quite often don't know what to believe. The words "fake news" are often mentioned, meant to convince us that we should not believe everything that we are told.
We are living in strange times, for sure. We hear of uprisings and demonstrations, missile tests and threatened retaliation, financial insecurity and global trade wars. There is gun violence in diverse places in Canada and mass murders in the USA. Millions of people are living in refugee camps and hundreds of thousands are starving to death. What we see and hear might be exaggerated to some extent — it is hard to tell. Certainly, for us ordinary folk, it is hard to understand and comprehend what is going on in the world at the present time.
At the time of John the Baptist, it was a confusing period in Israel as well. The country was occupied by the Romans, there were high taxes, and people were searching for peace in their hearts. Some of the tax collectors and soldiers came to listen to John as he called for repentance and prepared the way for Jesus. He certainly did not mince any words.
Luke 3:7 – John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (NIV)
John even criticized Herod for marrying Herodias, his brother Phillip's wife, but his words caused him to be arrested, incarcerated, and executed. Jesus, too, was quick to point out that things were not good:
Mark 1:14-15 – After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come" he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)
Think about it: There are so many people who need to hear the good news of Jesus, how He came to teach and to preach, to heal and to bring comfort, and how He died to forgive all who believe in Him as Saviour and Lord. How can we bring this good news to so many who need to hear it? It remains as such a huge task. We need to pray fervently:
Luke 10:2 – The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (NIV)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that You would speak to the hearts of the leaders who have the ability to change the bad news, that they would listen and act according to Your will. We ask that you would send more labourers into the harvest fields, for they are white for harvest. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "A Child Of The King" (Lyrics)