Luke 3:7-18

by Sheryl Johnson

I was looking up today’s Scripture passage online and one of the ads running on the webpage caught my eye. “Share your faith with free tools and apps,” it proclaimed alongside a picture of a smart phone and computer screen. Want to proclaim the good news to the people like John did? Apparently there’s an app for that.

Artwork by Elizabeth T.

So I clicked the ad and I could then download the “Steps to Peace with God” app described as “the Gospel message in four simple steps.” You might recognize the classic sin chasm/cross bridge illustration on screens two and three. It is a perfectly fine message (though I’m skeptical anybody searching for life’s meaning is thinking the iTunes Store has the answers). But the message doesn’t go far enough.

In today’s Scripture John also has four steps to peace with God. First, he tells the crowd: don’t think your spiritual heritage or pedigree is enough to get you by. You need to bear fruit. The crowd wants to know more. John responds: those of you who have more than enough need to share with those with less than enough. Then the tax collectors are instructed: treat people fairly and honestly. Finally the soldiers get advice: never use your power to take advantage of others for your own gain.

For John, preparation means taking action, the right action. Proclaiming the good news of the one who comes is more than sharing words. And certainly more than a snazzy app on your iPhone.