Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
John announced this great word: that repentance is the way people come to God, and the result is the forgiveness of sins. The greatest blessing people can experience is to have their sins forgiven. This is what the people who streamed out of Jerusalem to listen to John were looking for, and this is what they found. They found forgiveness of sins, and it came by way of repentance.
That is why the prophet Isaiah said John’s message would be like a great bulldozer, building a highway in the desert for God to reach the isolated stranger in the midst of the wilderness. Without a road you cannot drive out into the desert in order to help somebody. You must have a road, a highway in the desert. John was God’s bulldozer to build that highway. You know how roads are built—exactly as Isaiah describes in chapter 40: Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain (Isaiah 40:4). That is what repentance does. It brings down all the high peaks of pride that we stand on and refuse to admit are wrong. It takes the depressed areas of our life, where we beat and torture and punish ourselves, and lifts them up. It takes the crooked places, where we have lied and deceived, and straightens them out. And it makes the rough places plain. Then God is there at that instance of repentance.
John brought people to Christ the only way they can come—through acknowledgment of guilt. When people come this way, God meets them, cleanses them, and forgives them.
Father, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your dear Son. Thank you for making us your children by water and the Spirit. Keep us faithful to you throughout our lives. Amen.
Go with God!
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