In those days John the Baptist came, . . . saying, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
In 2008, a caravan of tourists in Utah decided to take the scenic route through a national park. The people in the lead vehicle entered the address of their destination into their GPS and everyone else followed. Over the next several hours, the roads became narrower, rockier, and steeper. The turns became sharper. But not to worry. The GPS told them that they were on the right track. This continued until they reached the edge of a sheer cliff. Now they began to panic. They could not go forward, and they could not find their way back. They stayed there all night. Finally, a search plane discovered where they were and a rescue party came to take them home. Think of the grief they could have avoided if only one person would have said, “This is no good. It’s time to turn around.”
You and I have such a person. His name is John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was quite a sight to see. He lived in the desert. For clothing, he wore camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. And so powerful was his message that crowds of people came out of their cities, towns, and comfortable homes just to hear him preach.
And the message he proclaimed was “Repent.”
To repent means to turn from sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness. But understand this key point. We don’t turn around to God in order to make God turn around to us. Rather, we can turn around because God is already facing us, already holding his arms out to hold us, already waiting to announce that our sins have been forgiven—paid for on the cross by Jesus.
With what sins are you struggling? Whatever they are, let the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness cause you to turn from them and turn to him.
Lord, use the assurance of your forgiveness to turn me from my sin to you. Amen.