Experiencing Christ’s commencement begins with repentance. Nothing grabs Jesus’s attention more than a believer’s willingness to turn away from sin and do the will of God.
In the past weeks, we saw how God established Christ as King (Matthew 1: 1-17) and reviewed Jesus’ unconventional birth (Matthew 1:18-25).
Next, we examined the three wise men declaration of Christ the King (Matthew 2:1-12).
And then we looked at Satan’s failed assassination on baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13-15). So, when the devil didn’t succeed in killing God’s King we saw Lucifer’s murderous acts on innocent boy’s (Matthew 2:16-18).
Our last conversation ended with how Christ became a Nazarene (Matthew 2:19-23).
Now we check out the role John the Baptist plays in proclaiming Christ the King of the Jews.
In Fact, when new Kings took the throne he sent a messenger announcing his kingship. Likewise, God did the same by choosing John the Baptist as His envoy.
God used John as a courier for Christ’s Kingship. John’s ministry became the starting point to God’s new Covenant with humanity.
And for this reason (God’s kingdom) the Lord’s messenger preached repentance (Matthew 3:2).
In Matthew’s third chapter God shows us the course of action, oneself must take to receive His King. Since God’s Spirit worked through John, it paved the way for Christ’s commencement.
First Matthew tells us John listened to those whom he baptized confess their sins (Matthew 3:6).
Yes, confession is an imperative action in a life anchored in Christ’s Deity and without a willingness to confess a believer’s life experiences unnecessary suffering.
But God’s messenger didn’t stop at confession. No, he emphasized a change in behavior through repentance.
And those two Christian attributes (confession and repentance) are equally relevant to our present day walk in Christ!
The Pharisees and Sadducees became curious and visited the Jordon where many Jews received baptism. Upon their arrival, John unleashed a strong warning on their motives. His stern words (Matthew 3:7-10) are most compelling evidence of how they weren’t favorable in God’s eyes. Here Matthew displays their spiritual fate by illustrating their inward hearts.
John’s confrontation with the Pharisees and Sadducees is important to realize because if I’m not right in my faith, the same results will happen to me. This means I must live in repentance and prove a change in behavior.
Repentance is a point often overlooked. Since God holds repentance as one of His highest commandments (2 Chronicles 7:14), then it becomes crucial to understand how to apply it to our faith.
I know repentance is hard. In my journey with Christ, the greatest spiritual lessons I’ve learned come from my disobedience. When I hold onto sin, my spirit is gravely affected, and I suffer from guilt. Until I get right with Christ, the spiritual pain causes me to make unwise decisions.
But when I stop and spend quiet time confessing my sin to Christ, then when God sees fit He releases my turmoil. Even though at times it takes a while before I experience God’s mercy; without exception this experience changes my behavior. And the more I spend quiet time with Christ the easier I find to live holy.
This message of repentance John preached is a focal point for every Christian past and present. The moment he began sharing God’s plan of preparation for Christ an entry into His kingdom emerged.
God wants everybody to understand salvation starts with an act of contrition. Once we humble ourselves, without reservation, then Christ takes control of our hearts, and we learn the real meaning of repentance. Since Matthew shared with us the importance of repentance then there are no excuses not to apply John’s message.
What are your thoughts on repentance?