Talk about a daunting task! The four readings for today couldn’t be more different. Isaiah 5:1-7 relates a story of a vineyard that is well established and cared for that bears no fruit. It refers to the children of God who are given everything by him but do nothing in evidence of God’s love. Psalms 148, 149, and 150 call on us to sing praises to God for what he has done for us. 2 Peter 3:11-18 was written to the followers of Christ to stimulate church growth, combat false teaching, and encourage watchfulness in preparation for the Lord’s triumphant return. Luke 7:28-35 talks about the differences in the baptisms of John and Jesus and how they both carry their own wisdom.
As different as these readings seem, one from the other, I think there is a thread that runs through all of them – the thread of knowledge. Using the vineyard as an example, being well tended makes us strong, yet we need to know how to use that strength for the good of others. How can we sing praises unless we know the many wondrous things that deserve our praise? Peter admonishes us to live holy and godly lives so that at the coming of the new world we will be found “spotless, blameless, and at peace with the Lord.” In order to live our lives in this fashion we need to know what is right and wrong. He also warns us against being misled by false teachers. Finally, Luke relates the rejection of John and Jesus by the Pharisees because, though each was baptized, they were different in some ways. Luke refutes this and makes the point that both John and Jesus were godly despite their differences, a fact recognized by spiritually wise people.
Knowledge is the key to a strong Christian life – knowledge of what God has given us, what the Lord expects of us, and what we should do to prepare ourselves for that day when we will all be judged. How do we find that knowledge? By attending church to hear and receive the word of God, by increasing our knowledge through reading and studying the Bible, by teaching our children to know and love the Lord, and by building each other up so that in times of trouble we are not tempted to let go of the teachings that are the cornerstone of our faith.
- Darrell Breed