January 12, 2019
DAY 14: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Focus Verses: Matthew 3:7-11 and 4:7
John the Baptist is not only the crier from the wilderness spoken of in Isaiah 40:3, he was the cousin of Jesus. According to the prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist would come before Jesus, announcing His arrival. John’s message was simple: repent and be baptized that you may be right before the coming King. In baptism, water represents cleansing. This cleansing was washing away of sin and turning away from a sinful lifestyle. Our focus verses for today clearly reveal that repentance was not only important to John the Baptist: repentance is important to Jesus.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And 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. 10 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. 11I 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. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:7-12, NIV)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17, NIV)
You will discover, as you read through today’s journey, there were two groups of Jews, two denominations if you will, who had differing views on the Jewish faith, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in life after death. The Sadducees believed when a person died they ceased to be. The one thing they had in common was they were prideful and self righteous. Both believing they were better than the other.
John the Baptist called them out for being sinners. He told them that they had to turn from their sinful ways or be forever lost. As Jesus’ ministry begins in Chapter 4, He too warns His listeners that they must repent of their sin. John the Baptist, the person chosen to announce the coming of Immanuel, preached repentance and Jesus (Immanuel) preached repentance. What does it mean to repent?
Websters New World College Dictionary defines repent as, “to feel so contrite over one’s sins as to change, or decide to change, one’s ways; be penitent.” You may want to consider taking out your journal now. The importance of the Biblical concept, REPENTANCE, cannot be expressed in mere words. Repentance has spiritual connotations to it. The Pharisee’s and Sadducees’ lived a worldly life in secret, deceiving the people they encountered daily with a pious God directed attitude. The common people of Judah who encountered, the Pharisees and Sadducees, wanted to be more like them, not realizing that God was more pleased with them: the common people. Not because they were more perfect; but because, they were willing to confess their shortcomings to God seeking His help to overcome the sin that crowded into their lives.
Take some time to pray, meditate, and reflect on today’s journey, the journey of repentance. As you reflect on repentance, listen for God’s voice and apply it to your life. The Journey of Repentance is important to you because it is important to Jesus.