If you are going in one direction repent and go in another. All of
the Gospels begin with some type of call to repentance and most of
those calls come from John the Baptist. Lukeís account of Johnís
ministry is, in my mind, the most compelling and includes the words
above. And it is these words that distinguish repentance from a
simple apology. When we apologize we say we are sorry for what we
have done. When we repent we say we arenít going to do it anymore.
It is not so hard to understand why repentance is important in a
spiritual sense, but why was it so all-fired important as to be the
opening act for Jesusí ministry. Why does John baptize with the
waters of repentance as an act of preparation?
The answer to this is not easy to explain but it is simple in
We repent so we can hear. That is the answer. I will give you an
example. My 3-year old son, Calum, doesnít like to come to the table
for dinner. And the reason for that is simple, his toys arenít
Countless nights have been spent hauling him to his chair and
forcing him, under penalty of no dessert, to sit and eat. So, why
not just let him bring his toys? Well, when they are present Calum
pokes at his food or loads it into the back of a truck or tries to
feed a stuffed animal.
The idea that he might feed himself never crosses his mind. Calum
canít eat his dinner if he doesnít leave his toys behind. And the
same is true for us. We canít hear the message of Christ, I mean
really hear it, unless we leave our sins behind. If we cling to them
then every word from Christís mouth sounds not like Good News but
instead like a harsh gospel, depriving us of that which we love.
Those who heard Johnís call to repentance were able to hear Christís
Gospel. Those who did not were not. And nothing has changed today.
We repent so we can hear. And we repent during Lent so we can hear
the resounding hallelujahs of the empty tomb on Easter morning. So
today I say the same thing that John said, repent and hear. Have a
Prayer: Holy God, please help me to repent. You know what I need
to change in my life, please help me to change so that I can hear
You in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
[Text from file received by Phil Blackburn]