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Matthew 3:1-2

The Message of Repentance

1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Matthew gives us no warning or introduction of John the Baptist. He slides almost unnoticeably from the child Jesus' return from Egypt to the start of John the Baptist's ministry, which occurred when Jesus was about thirty years old.

In the Old Testament, the phrase "In those days..." generally meant "in the fullness of time". Both Jesus and John lived private lives as ordinary children and grew into manhood normally. Now, it was the fullness of time, God's timing for their ministries to begin and for the gospel to be preached. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: .... I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." (Eccl 3:1,17)

God is sovereign over time and history, so, "In those days came John the Baptist. preaching..."

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21) John came first. He was the first prophet to preach in Judaea in over 300 years, but he was not the One for whom the world had been waiting. John was simply preparing the way,

The wilderness is not where we would expect God's servants to begin preaching the good news, but this was not the roughest wilderness in Judaea. It was, however, a very scarcely populated area. Yet, we find that the people came from all over the country. God has His own way of doing things and He led the people to John the Baptist in order that they might hear His message.

"Repent ye.." is not a terribly difficult call to understand. The same message is still preached today. It is translated from two Greek roots, the first meaning "with" or "after", and the second meaning "to think" with the implication of change. "Repent" means "to change our thinking". There is no other way to prepare the way for Jesus, no other way to prepare our hearts for His Lordship. We must change our way of thinking so that we are thinking with God and seeing things from His perspective.

The second part of John's message tells us why we must change. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." God's kingdom is all of that part of creation that is in obedience to His Lordship. When the kingdom comes there will be nothing left that is not under His Lordship. If we want to survive the wrath of God, we must change our thinking now and place ourselves in His hands. His kingdom is all around us. He rules in the hearts of every born again believer, and this is a sure sign that the time to repent is now.

Jesus preached exactly the same message (See 4:17). This word must be applied to our hearts everyday. You say, "I have repented and have been saved", but are you thinking like God all of the time? I doubt that anyone does that.

Paul wrote, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Paul used the present imperative of "transformed", which means that it is to be a continuous process of renewal. We must always be changing our thinking, always be aware of the world's influence on our minds, and always be looking for the coming kingdom of God.

Before The Throne:

Pray that the Spirit of God would fall upon you and bring you into a state of repentance that would be pleasing to God. Confess your sins and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Thank Him for sending His Son to make it possible for you to be accepted into the kingdom. Ask Him to show you others whom the Spirit has prepared to hear you say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

For Further Study:

(v.1)
** those. Luke 3:1-2; ** John. Matt 11:11; Matt 14:2-14; Matt 16:14; Matt 17:12-13; Matt 21:25-27, 32; Mark 1:4, 15; Mark 6:16-29; Luke 1:13-17, 76; Luke 3:2-20; John 1:6-8, 15-36; John 3:27-36; Acts 1:22; Acts 13:24-25; Acts 19:3-4; ** preaching. Isa 40:3-6; Mark 1:7; Luke 1:17; ** the wilderness. Matt 11:7; Josh 14:10; Josh 15:61-62; Luke 7:24;

(v.2) ** Repent. Matt 4:17; Matt 11:20; Matt 12:41; Matt 21:29-32; 1Kgs 8:47; Job 42:6; Ezek 18:30-32; Ezek 33:11; Mark 1:4, 15; Mark 6:12; Luke 13:3, 5; Luke 15:7, 10; Luke 16:30; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 11:18; Acts 17:30; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20; 2Cor 7:10; 2Tim 2:25; Heb 6:1; 2Pet 3:9; Rev 2:5; Rev 2:21; ** for. Matt 5:3, 10, 19-20; Matt 6:10, 33; Matt 10:7; Matt 11:11-12; Matt 13:11, 24, 31, 33. 44-45, 47, 52; Matt 18:1-4, 23; Matt 20:1; Matt 22:2; Matt 23:13; Matt 25:1, 14; Dan 2:44; Luke 6:20; Luke 9:2; Luke 10:9-11; John 3:3-5; Col 1:13;

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