I have to start with a confession this week: A year ago, I think I probably would have zoned out during a sermon like the one Chris gave on the beginning of Mark. I thought any sermon that focused on repentance and our need for Christ was for unbelievers, not for someone like me who is already a part of God’s family.
I praise God that He graciously opened my eyes to how wrong I was about my own daily need for the gospel!
It hit me during the sermon how often I am much like the Jews of that era. Chris mentioned that the Jews were a people who thought immersion and repentance was for the “dirty” gentiles, not for God’s chosen people. And yet they came in droves to hear John preach repentance in the wilderness… and that it was the Jews that needed to repent, not just gentiles.
Like the Jews of the first century, I considered myself “in” in the past and then set out to get my act together through religious activities and self-improvement, which I can still be tempted to do. This is something that a favorite author, Elyse Fitzpatrick, refers to as “spiritual amnesia.” Thankfully, God didn’t leave me in a place where I forgot the One who is BOTH the “author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:2).
For the Jews coming out to hear John speak, preparing for Jesus Christ meant a realization of the pervasive sin in their lives. I need this truth in front of my eyes every day! I am striving to begin each day by recognizing the depths of my sinfulness and my own need for a repentant heart. That truth prepares my heart for the transformative work of the gospel. And that truly is “good news!”