Special note: Look for my monthly blogs adapted from my yet-to-be-published book, Misfits on a Journey With Jesus (h ttps://www.debbieewald.com/books), a devotional book for teens. No matter your age or spiritual path, I pray the Lord will bless you through my humble attempts of communicating His truth.
Do you ever think about Jesus' family life when He lived on earth? It looked much like most families. Maybe you've heard of His parents, Mary and Joseph. He also had brothers and sisters. And cousins. The Gospels introduce us to Cousin John, also known as John the Baptist (not because he was a member of First Baptist). God sent him to prepare people for Jesus' earthly ministry.
Similar to Jesus' birth, John's entry into the world was miraculous. You can read about it in Luke 1. His parents didn't have any children and were past child-bearing age. Yet God chose them to parent His special messenger. When John became an adult, he preached a life-changing message.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching . . ., "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (Matthew 3:1-2, NIV, emphasis added)
Repent is an action verb meaning to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus.
There was a time that I let sin rule my life. The sad consequences of drugs, teen pregnancy and divorce made me understand that the things I chased after to make me happy, eventually hurt me. Finally, I stopped looking for happiness in the wrong places, repented of my sin, and followed Jesus. Now I experience true joy because He is in my life and I am a citizen of His kingdom. I'm not perfect but I follow the Perfect One.
Confession and Baptism
People went out to [John] from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matthew 3:5-6, NIV, emphasis added)
People responded to John's message by confessing their sins. What does it mean to confess our sins? Think about a thief who confesses to the police that he stole jewelry from a store. He's agreeing with the system that he broke a law, stealing. Spiritually speaking, confession means that we agree with God that our sin is against His purpose and plan for our lives. But I have great news: First John 1:9 tells us that when we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. Notice that it doesn't say "maybe" or "possibly"; He will forgive us! This is an awesome truth: the great God of the universe hears us when we confess our sins.
One group of people who came to see John angered him: the religious leaders known as Pharisees and Sadducees.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Matthew 3:7, NIV)
John insulted the religious leaders by calling them snakes. Yikes! John was angry at these men because he saw through their fake interest in his message. They were curious about this strange man, but they had no desire to turn away from their greed and pride.
A Choice to Make
Maybe your behavior is squeaky clean and unlike me, you have not chased after all the wrong things to make you happy. Or unlike the religious leaders, maybe you don't have a problem with greed. However, the Bible says that we have all sinned.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, NIV)
We all have a choice to make; no one can make it for us. What are the choices?
Repent and follow Jesus.
Reject Jesus by doing nothing. No confession. No repentance. No following the One who came to save us from the grip of sin.
Maybe you've already made that choice to follow Jesus. Praise God! Thank Him for the awesome truth that Jesus made it possible for you to have a forever home with Him.
However, if you have not yet made that choice, will you choose Jesus today? Just come to Him with a simple prayer; something like this: Dear Jesus, I confess that I have sinned. Please help me to repent and follow You. Thank You for loving me so much that You made a way for me to have joy and peace in this life, and a forever home with You when I pass from this life. Amen.
There is no magic in these words. The miracle is in what happens when we humbly confess that we have sinned; made a conscious decision to repent; and now follow Jesus.
Friends, if you just made this decision to follow Jesus, I'd love to hear from you. Even if you didn't and have questions or just want to chat, contact me through my website: www.debbieewald.com.
This blog post is adapted from my book, Misfits on a Journey With Jesus: a 30-Day Exploration. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for release updates.