In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)
John’s message of repentance would not have been popular and wouldn’t have gone over too well at the time. Particularly, the religious leaders of the day would have found this message alarming as they were under the false assumption that they were good enough to earn God’s favor and ultimately a way into Heaven.
Suggesting that there was a need for repentance meant that they were failing – that their actions weren’t sufficient to get them to Heaven.
John wanted them to know that the time of judgment was coming and that they were to turn from their pride and sin. He was announcing the coming of our King, and that the nation of Israel was in no way ready for His arrival.
Thankfully, John the Baptist was a man who wasn’t afraid to say the hard things. He was never afraid to say what needed to be said for the spiritual growth of another because he was more concerned with that growth than with what people thought of him. He was extremely confident in who he was and who God wanted him to be.
We should all strive to be as secure in who we are as John the Baptist was. He knew that God had a message to carry out through him, and he had the faith to deliver. He did so even when it wasn’t the easy or popular thing to do. We carry the same message of repentance and grace and so we have the same confidence at our disposal.
Discipleship challenge: Seeing John the Baptist’s boldness, we should be compelled to share the message that God has given us.
Is there someone in your life that the Spirit has been leading you to share the Gospel with? What is keeping you from being obedient? What are some ways that you could bring it up in natural conversation? What will it mean for your relationship if you do share? More importantly, how will their spiritual growth be affected if you don’t?
Jeff Howard is Downline’s Student Life Coordinator with the Emerging Leader Program. You can follow him on Twitter or keep up with him at his blog.