Lectionary Year C
December 17, 2000
Luke 3:7-18

Step II: Disposition

(FS) - Step II

a. Genre:

"Luke" uses narrative to convey the story of Jesus to move "Theophilus" to faith and trust. Kummel (Introduction to the NT, p. 97) notes that Luke appears to aim his letter toward Greek-speaking readers, with little use of Aramaic-root words other than "amen". The narrative here seems detailed, with "something for everyone" in John's preaching.

b. Some early questions/observations--

1. It's interesting that "Luke" makes no mention of the Baptist's garb and diet; the focus is on his message.

2. That message is blistering! Advent is (where I've ministered) understood to be a time for joyful preparation to celebrate Christ's coming. This text has a strong penitential slant. In the middle of all the excitement and preparation of the approaching Christmas season, amid a sanctuary decorated with all the trappings and decorations of that season, this text sounds like a discordant blast of an old trumpet. A call to self-examination and repentance does not immediately come to mind during Advent. How to proclaim a message of judgement as good news?

3. John's message sounds stern. But "multitudes" are said here to have been attracted to his preaching, and to his baptism. What expectations did the people have in that time and place, for John to strike such a responsive chord?

4. Were the soldiers Roman, or Jewish mercenaries? How "universal" was that message?

5. "with the Holy Spirit and with fire"-- sounds like Pentecost. Is there already a little foreshadowing of Acts 2 here?

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