4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
his is an impressive account about a whole bunch of people — all the land of Judea, who realized their sinful state and the need for forgiveness. Hence when they heard John say: “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matt 3:2), they flocked from everywhere to receive this message.
What impressed me was the response of those who ran to confess their sins and be baptized. Before I became a believer, I heard and read many many testimonies of how people came to accept Christ. They moved me to tears each time, and yet, my heart remained like a stone, not seeing that I was a sinner who needed to be forgiven. But the fact is, we have all sinned. Sin is described as a burden; carrying the thought of what we’ve done wrong not only weighs us down but sometimes causes us to stop moving forward – – even for believers. The act of confession brings great rewards beyond healing and forgiveness. As mentioned in yesterday’s devotion, where John baptized with water, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:8). By believing in The One, we no longer have to run to the “wilderness” to receive His gifts. He will meet us where we are.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- Is there anything that you need to confess before God?
Today, take a moment, wherever you are, to ASK God to move in your life: Share what’s on your heart, asking God to provide, protect and encourage you.