Paul John Isaak: Repentance

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“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” Luke 3:10-14

“Various groups of people approached John to ask what repentance would mean in their case. Ordinary citizens were told that their work of repentance would be a willingness to share life’s necessities of food and clothing with those in need. Tax collectors were told that for them it would be ceasing to demand more than the appointed amount of tax. Soldiers were told that for them it would be refraining from extorting money or goods by force or by falsely accusing people; they must be content with their army wages and provisions.”

Paul John Isaak in “Luke” in Africa Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) 1236.

If we polled Christians today, they would likely not equate failure to share with the extortion or theft of tax collectors and soldiers. John’s making the point that in God’s eyes, they are the same.

People often approach me with questions like they did with John the Baptist. Even as many found his answers radical, many find my comments too countercultural. Admittedly, I don’t have all this figured out.

But there is one thing I know…when we pursue God’s heart with humility, He shows us what needs to change, and our job is to do what He says. When we do, He works through us to accomplish His purposes for His glory.