Today’s Bible reading
Read Matthew 3:5-6
Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
More thoughts for meditation
Repentance does not just mean a change of mind, or even a change or heart; it’s a change of posture all together. The New Testament calls it a turning toward God., or you might say a returning to God. A returning to home. A return from the strange place we’re in now, to the comparatively strange place that is our actual home. A return to our maker.
John’s repentance is not singular; it is once-and-for-all. It’s a transformative. The returning to God is not just an augmentation of one’s life; it is a fundamental change to one’s life. It is a sort of awakening. John is moving the whole world to repent, to turn, as they make a way for the Lord!
The baptism of John, a ceremonially that Gentiles underwent when they converted to Judaism, is now someone all believers, all people, are undergoing. Craig Keener tells us that, “it is highly unlikely that Jewish people would admit Gentiles into the covenant without a ritual cleansing from their former state of impurity,” and as such, he is calling all people to consider how they’ve strayed from their maker and how to return. No one is without blemish.
Suggestions for action
We publicly declare our faith in baptism. It is a symbol of something that is happening inside of us and we express it to the world. That expression is transformative though. There is something powerful about publicizing our faith; that is, making it public, and making it known. Consider how you can publicly declare your faith today. Imagine what it might do to “turn” you toward God. If you feel apprehensive or limited, consider why that might be. Pray that God stills your heart and gives you peace this Advent.