At fifty-three, the last thing Sonia expected to do was abandon her business and her country to join a group of asylum seekers journeying to a new land. After gangs murdered her nephew and tried to force her seventeen-year-old son into their ranks, Sonia felt escape was her only option. “I pray to God. . . . I will do whatever is necessary,” Sonia explained. “I will do anything so [my son and I] don’t die of hunger. . . I prefer to see him suffer here than end up in a bag or canal.”
Does the Bible have anything to say to Sonia and her son—or to so many who have suffered injustice and devastation? When John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of Jesus, he announced good news to Sonia, to us, to the world. “Prepare the way for the Lord,” John proclaimed (Luke 3:4). He insisted that when Jesus arrived, God would enact a powerful, comprehensive rescue. The biblical word for this rescue is salvation.
Salvation encompasses both the healing of our sinful hearts and—one day—the healing of all the world’s evils. God’s transforming work is for every story, every human system, and is available to everyone. “All people will see God’s salvation,” John said (v. 6).
Whatever evil we face, Christ’s cross and resurrection assure us we’ll see God’s salvation. One day we’ll experience His final liberation.
Luke, the writer of the third gospel, has an impressive resume. His credits include theologian, physician (Colossians 4:14), researcher, and historian. His attention to historical detail appears early in the book (see Luke 1:3–5; 2:1–2). This pattern continues in Luke 3:1–2 where he briefly notes the secular and religious ruling authorities during the ministry of John the Baptist. The Roman emperor Tiberius (ruled