Last week was the breadth of the story of God and man, of heaven and earth. I will provide this post mainly for people to post their notes of elements which stood out to them. The main point for where we are headed is that the religious establishment was referred to as a fruitless tree in danger of being cut down and as chaff. Psalm 1 lays out the distinction. RIGHTEOUSNESS is living fully, abundantly according to God’s plan. The imagery is of a river (God’s revealed truth) providing life to a tree which grows strong (prospers), its leaves don’t wither (fresh to the tips of its being) and it produces fruit in due season (appropriately productive). This is in distinction to chaff (organic wrappers) which are tossed to be burned.
John was calling people to ‘repent’ (think again such that we choose differently). The Kingdom of God (God in charge) should be our focus. Those who had defied God’s rule but repented showed such by renouncing their treason (sin, sedition) and announcing their loyalty. When Jesus arrived John was reluctant to baptize him. The mistake is not realizing that Jesus did not need to renounce wrong allegiances, he did not need to repent, but he did need to publicly declare his allegiance to the Kingdom of God. When he did the Father blessed him as the Spirit descended onto him.
- Righteousness is living like we should. The image is of a tree (not something lifeless and stiff like telephone poles). Righteousness is good and beautiful and our calling; it is life
- Not being righteous is more than just wasting opportunities, it is being a rebel, a traitor to the cause we were created for. Our soul, mind, heart and strength were given for a reason. To misuse our being is no small offence.
- Repenting is turning from the treachery of rebellion and renouncing those previous allegiances.
- Baptism is the clean start for one ready to declare allegiance to God’s rule, the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Jesus stepped up to declare his allegiance.
For conciseness, I will stop here. Please post notes for others and we will continue clarifying.