Monday, December 3, 2007

Repent Heaven is Near Matthew 3:1-11

Life with a Lectionary (like the Revised Common Lectionary) gives one the opportunity and the challenge to hear powerful parts of God's word again and again. John the Forerunner's words stop me hard every year. Right about the time my wife is saying, "Have you found any Christmas spirit yet?" John the Baptist, this fiery preacher, comes in calling me to repent. John preached waiting for the altar call, waiting for the moment when people would come out to wilderness to meet him at the river so they could lay down their troubles and be baptized.

Every year we hear John's words; and he comes into our presence this year with his clarion call.

μετανοει̂τε· ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τω̂ν οὐρανω̂ν.
Matthew 3:2 From Black, Matthew, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren. The Greek New Testament. United Bible Societies, 1997, c198
John was the one sent to call the people of Judah to come forward and repent. In Matthew 3:2 John's declares the heart of his message. He was not vague. John spoke a command μετανοει̂τε he wanted action and passion that his hearers might be ready to live in the sovereignty of heaven.
transform yourselves for near to you comes the sovereignty of Heaven
Some say John preached for a change of heart, other for repentance. I say he preached wanting to see us radically transform our lives now for the power of Heaven has come near to us. He preached for the moment of transformation and for the life that life that would come after we turn around in order to be ready for heaven to come near. Jesus arrival in Bethlehem, his ministry, his death, and rising are all what John was called the people to be ready to see. Today is our time to get ready to meet him.

1 comment:

David said...

I love the lessons Advent brings to us, especially when congregations begin to make the connection that we are not waiting for a baby to be born in Bethlehem, but rather the return of Christ.

This call to repent is a great message that we will proclaim again on Sunday. Thanks for your reflections regarding the text.