What should I do?
This is a question of a desperate person. It might be a child who has disobeyed his parents and knows he will be punished. Or it could be the husband whose wife has learned of his affair with another woman. Or it could be the politician whose dishonesty for personal gain could force him to resign his seat in the Congress of the United States.
What should I do?
This was the question of many in the crowd who listened to John the Baptist preach and was weighed down with guilt. When a man wearing a beautiful tunic was complimented on the garment, he boasted of the others he had back home in his closet. John the Baptist counseled him to give the others to his neighbors who had no tunics. Share your wealth.
The tax collectors were told to stop overcharging those whom from whom they were sent to collect taxes. The soldiers, who received an adequate salary, were told to be content with they pay and not accept bribes for favors.
Many people ask this question. Peter’s congregation on Pentecost asked the question Ð What should we do? Ð when the apostle reminded them of crucifying Christ. The Philippian jailer was filled with guilt and fear of what was going to happen when the Roman authorities learned the prisoners had escaped. He was about to commit suicide when Paul and Silas told hm not to harm himself. Filled with guilt, he said, “What must I do to be saved?”
Behind this question is the feeling of guilt. Guilt is a killer. People who do not know what to do with their guilt can be very dangerous.
But we thank God the Holy Spirit has not only convicted us of our sins, he has also shown us that we can have the forgiveness of our sins if we will repent and trust Jesus Christ as our Savior. Our text says, “John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.”
What is the good news? Listen: “John pointed to Jesus and said, ÔBehold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of th world'” John 12:29.
John was not simply moralizing, telling them that if they would care for the poor and be honest in their business transactions, God would look with favor on them. So often this is our solution. We reason this way: I have not been a very good person, but perhaps I can make up for it by doing some good deeds, and this will please God.
Listen to what God’s Word says, “Repent and trust Christ to take away your sins.” When these sins are forgiven, you are restored into a personal relationship with God. Now, out of love for the Savior, your desire is to live according to God’s will.” This is far more than moralizing. This is evangelizing. It is not trying to reform people. It is to see them transformed until they belong to God through faith in Christ and they have an inner desire to live for him.
The Advent message points to the Babe of Bethlehem’s manger, but it also goes further. In front of the manger is a cross and an empty tomb. He is the answer for our lives. What must we do to live at peace with God? Turn to Christ.
Of, if the America we love, which has blessed us in so many ways, would only bow in humble adoration! If the leaders of our land on both sides of the aisle would seek God’s will as it is revealed in the Scriptures and have the courage to be faithful servants of God, called to govern according to his will and not political gain, either personal or for the constituents. Haven’t we learned that we do not have the answers for the world’s problems? Only Christ has them. He teaches us how to deal with our enemies when we have become one in him.
Reading this you say, How true, but it will never happen, so let’s be practical. We live in a democracy, not a theocracy. We are a government of the people, not a government of God. People do not think and act as God does.
You are so right. History has proven this, but how necessary it is for the Church of Christ, in these perilous times, to hold high the name of Christ, who alone has the answers. If we must fall in defeat because we will not be led by this Savior, let us not perish simply because God’s people have not faithfully proclaimed the truth: Repent, and turn to Christ.
Remember how God’s Word described John the Baptist.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Ômake straight the way for the Lord.'”
God grant that the Church of Jesus Christ, those who truly believe, may be filled with many John the Baptists.