John the Baptist – Repentance
John the baptist was bold and direct, calling out even the Pharisees and even King Herod when necessary. He was able to do so because he had a very simple ministry and message. Because it was not overly complex it was easy to not get tangled in all of the discussions and shenanigans of society. His simple message and purpose was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, baptizing and preaching repentance.
Image courtesy of: Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon
So what exactly does repentance mean? Google definition says “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” Another definition is. “view or think of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse.” His simple message was to feel in our hearts deep regret and remorse for our wrong doing against God. In this context, John is basically saying to care deeply in your heart about God and His kingdom, and do your best to walk in His was and keep his commandments.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’.” – Matthew 3:1,2
Remember the message from a few days ago, God knows the heart? If we do wrong,repent in our hearts, and feel deep remorse for what we did, not for our sake but because we “hurt” God our Father, then He knows this and will forgive our sins. I can tell you that as a father this is very easy to truly understand. When my kid does wrong, if I can see in his heart that he feels bad for what he did, I feel much better about the situation because I know that my child’s heart is right. When a child does not care, feels entitled, and does everything against your wishes, that is when the “hammer is coming down” and discipline will be swift and strong.
Wouldn’t it be easy to see how God, who is our Father, also wishes for our hearts to be right, for our own sake? When my kids hearts are right I know it, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for them. When we seek God our Father, when we love the Lord our God with all our heart, He knows it, and there is nothing that He won’t do for us. Why would we not want to please our Father and do our best to walk with Him every day and follow in His ways. Sure we make mistakes, we all fail sometimes. God knows this, He created us and has been with us from the beginning. He is quite used to human failure. But God knows our hearts. And when we fail, if we repent in our hearts, God will know it, and He will be there to love us, save us, and lift us up.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word this beautiful morning. We seek You first, and ask you this morning for the forgiveness of our sins. Fill our hearts and our lives with more of your goodness. Help us this morning to love everyone who comes across our path this morning, and let your light shine in us and through us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins. We give you all the honor and glory, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: 1 Samuel 18; 1 Chronicles 6; 1 Psalm 11; Matthew 3
Scripture References From Today’s Reflection:
- “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Matthew 3:8-10
- “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Matthew 3:11
- “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'” – Matthew 22:37