Arrows are underrated. Traffic arrows point to sharp corners, or advise you not to turn on a one-way street. Arrows on boxes let you know which direction to open your new coffee pot. Yet we never really see them until they point us in the wrong direction, or suddenly disappear.
Luke 3. John the Baptist was famous for his revival preaching, yet all his messages were meant to point people towards someone who was coming: the Messiah.
Sometimes pointing in the right direction is not easy. John called out the tax collectors, who wielded the power of money. He called out the soldiers who were bullies. And he called out Herod for living immorally, and was thrown in prison. But before that happened, he baptized Jesus. And the story shifts to the Messiah from the messenger. And that was John’s goal all along.
The last half of the chapter is a genealogy. Throughout the list of names, familiar stories shine through: David, Boaz, Perez, Judah, Jacob, Issac, Abraham, Noah, Adam. Some stories are highlights of people trusting God’s directions through hard times. Others show God giving grace to people who stepped out of bounds and had hard consequences to live through. They all point towards Jesus, who would take all the sin and error of the world and pay back to God the consequence of every wrong action.
But the genealogy points another way as well. It also points backwards, past Abraham, and Noah, and Adam, to God. Who made the world, and all its crazy people, and did not give up on them. He planned a solution, and broke all the barriers to send Jesus to breathe life back into the world.
Christ called out people to follow Him. They had to give up their jobs. Their family lives, their place in the community. Their respectability. Their lives. And yet their response to this new lifestyle was not to run away from it, or minimize it, but a leap ahead to greater commitments. Their lives pointed towards this new, strange teaching in a way that still draws people’s attention to Jesus.
Your life is an arrow. Where do you point?
God, please help me to live my life wholeheartedly pointing to You in words and actions. Running towards You rather than scuffing my feet. So that people do a double-take and look in Your direction. And get to see the hope You give of LIFE! Amen.