Too often when we wrong another person, we offer an easy “I’m sorry” with no intent to change. True repentance, however, involves a complete 180-degree change in thought, attitude, and action. Truly repentant people turn their backs on sin and turn toward God’s forgiveness.
In chapter 3, we learn most of John the Baptist’s story, with many details unique to the book of Luke. He began by placing John in the greater historical context. A precise recording of these details mattered to Luke, the researcher. He cited Isaiah’s prophesy to bolster his claim that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (vv. 4–6).
In the style of an Old Testament prophet, John preached a call to repentance for the forgiveness of sin. But this repentance was not an abstract concept or an easy “I’m sorry.” The repentance John preached resulted in a deeply altered life.
As people came to him to be baptized, John hammered home the argument that—in the face of impending judgment—the people could not rely on their ancestry (vv. 8–9). This point seemed to sting, for the people began asking, “What should we do?” (v. 10). To the crowd, the tax collectors, and the soldiers, John’s response was the same: Repent. Change your ways. Be generous. Be fair. Be content.
As the people experienced John’s powerful ministry, many wondered if John was the Messiah (v. 15). But John made a clear distinction between his baptism and the baptism that Jesus would bring. This was the preparatory ministry for which John was born. John’s story ends with two summarized accounts: (1) his imprisonment by Herod and (2) Jesus’ baptism and endorsement by the Father. The most public portion of John’s ministry had concluded, and Jesus would now take center stage.
>> Repentance is serious, life- changing business. Reflect on your own experience of repentance and forgiveness. When did you have a 180-degree life change? Of what do you need to repent even right now?
Your grace is new every morning! We ask for Your cleansing conviction of sin in our lives. We are grieved by our sins against You. We repent, asking You to change our hearts and actions to better glorify You.