In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
4 Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (NRSV)
By: Tom Hunter
So here comes John!
Life has been going along just fine. I have my To Do list and of course there are some challenges along the way, but I pretty much know who I am and what the world is about. Jesus saved me on Easter, but Lent was a long time ago and I have become comfortable…maybe complacent…with the state of affairs in my life.
And here comes John!!
Wild John! Loud John! Can’t be ignored John! Dressed like an animal eating berries and wild honey. “Prepare the way of The Lord,” he yells. What is he talking about? I come closer with a group of my friends to see what is going on and he turns on us. “You brood of vipers! Repent! Turn around! You are on a path to destruction. Don’t try to rest on your laurels. Much more is required of you.”
I thought I was doing pretty well. I have tried to live a moral and decent life and to help others, but John is calling me to something more. These are momentous times. The axe is at the root of the tree. The Lord is coming! Wake Up! As a friend said to me, “At a time like this, maybe you shouldn’t be thinking of yourself.” Change your focus. Turn around. Repent!
“Prepare the way of the LORD, make HIS paths straight.”
By: Chris Potter
If you look up the word repent in the dictionary, you would find, “be sorry for”, “rue”, “be ashamed of” or feel contrite. We have all felt this way one time or another—but did anything good come of it?
If you do a search for repent in the Bible, you get a different definition. In the Bible it means to change your mind, and true repentance means that change will result in a change of action.
What we do is more important than what we think or feel. So-called evil thoughts only hurt the people who hold on to them. Evil actions hurt other people, and that’s a problem.
We get scared of this word “repent” because we think we are required to feel bad. Isn’t it easier to just skip that part and change what we are doing. Get up earlier, be on time for meetings, do those things you promised you would do (like write a reflection). You don’t have to feel bad about your past mistakes; you just have to change what you are doing.
By: Bill Ivey
Metanoia. Repent. Turn Around. Change your Life. Change your soul. Matthew 3:2
Many people smarter than I have struggled to define this word that the New Revised Standard Version translates as “repent.” Instead of trying to pick just one word, I choose to use many. I think it gives a bigger picture to what John the Baptist is saying. “Stop what you’re doing. Don’t continue on the path to destruction. Turn around and face God.” Our world is changing: it requires new thinking, don’t continue on the old path. Make a U-turn.
Maybe it’s this simple: you can’t go forward by looking at where you’ve been. If you need to change something in your relationship to God, maybe just turn around and go back to where God needs you to be—where your soul and the love of God meet. That could change your life. That could change the world!