READ: Matthew 3:1-12; 4:12-17
- “…John came preaching…repent…” and “…Jesus began to preach…repent” captures the essence of the message of what it means to hear from the King. Both preachers call the people to repent—to return to God. Both contexts include the phrase, “…the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Repentance is not merely a step in a process to “getting right with God.” Repentance is a response to the fact that God reigns through Jesus.
- 12 step programs are powerful in aiding people’s changing behaviors. To read through the steps is to essentially read the steps of repentance: recognition, acknowledgement, ownership, and action. Repentance responds to the acknowledgement that God’s reign is upon us. He longs for us to be in His care, which means being under His leadership. Repentance acknowledges that God has not been on the throne of our life, but needs to be.
- The noun repentance and the verb to repent are not used all that often in the recorded speeches of John and Jesus. Sixteen times total in the Gospels. But the theme of turning back to God, being sorry for sin/rebellion, and changing your behavior are present in many texts where the repentance vocabulary doesn’t appear. John and Jesus shared the deep concern that men and women should live in the company of God, and that would require them changing their affections and their actions.
- Underline the occurrences of repent(ance) in these texts.
- Assuming you have repented, what led you to the point you were ready to return to God?
- If you have never repented, what is holding you back?
PRAY: Thank God for wanting us back in His presence. Confess your sin before Him and seek His forgiveness. Pray for a heart that longs to repent whenever needed.