Luke 3:10-18 NRSVue

10And the crowds asked him, “What, then, should we do?” 11In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

15As the people were filled with expectation and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18So with many other exhortations he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Some thoughts on this scripture

For all the austerity of his life, John spoke to people in words they could grasp. It was his austerity that drew people's respect and trust. Here was a man who cared nothing for comfort, money or fame, who could not be bought, and who could speak the truth without fear.

Preparing the way for the Messiah is not simply a matter of belonging to the Jewish nation, John insists, but comes about through repentance, through changing the way one thinks and changing one's lifestyle. John gives some practical examples. People should share clothing and food with those who have none as basic expressions of faith. To tax collectors he says, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also ask him, "And we, what should we do?" John replies, "Do not extort money from anyone with threats or false accusations, and be satisfied with your wages."

What does my lifestyle say about my faith in Christ? Do I hoard or share what I have with others, especially those who are poor and on the margins of society?