Tiberius Caesar was emperor of Rome. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. Herod was Tetratch. And Caiaphas was the high priest. From top to bottom, the authorities, in Rome, in fortresses, in palaces and in the temple, were about as rotten as men get.
That is the way the third chapter of Luke begins.
Suddenly, we are far from the centers of power - in fact, in the wilderness. A nobody, a strange hermit, all hairy, and subsisting on bugs and honey (that almost sounds familiar) receives the word of the Lord. All the powerful, the rich, the well-connected, are ignored, as crowds flock to this prophet. Is he the Messiah?
No. He tells them to stop sinning and do good. He baptizes them with water, for forgiveness, if they are willing to repent, but points ahead to Another.
No matter how corrupt our government and religious leaders are, God does not forget us. You can't stop God's truth. You just can't. It doesn't matter who you are, or what office you hold. Because you can't stop the ordinary, the empty, and the simple, where God is found.
The coming year will be a test, which was what the Greek word translated "temptation" really means. May the word of the Lord come to you in 2017, bringing healing, courage, and love, and may we all pass the coming tests in the sure faith, handed down to us in purity.
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