Passage: Matthew 3:1-12 — John the Baptist prepares the way
Key Verse: Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
In the Greek, repentance (metanoia) literally means to have another mind or to change one’s mind. It reminded of the 1970 college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the University of Southern California Trojans in Birmingham, Alabama. That game was notable because USC started six black players (including their entire backfield) while Alabama started none. In the early to mid-1960s, Alabama had won three national championships with an all white team and the fan-base was still under the delusion that they could win without integrating their team and their school. In the game, USC fullback Sam Cunningham ran up and down the field for 135 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns, and the Tide was trounced 42-21. At one point, Alabama had eight linebackers in the game trying to stop Cunningham, but they could do nothing. It was after this game that the Alabama fan-base realized that if they did not integrate the football team, they would remain a mediocre team, not a national powerhouse. In a way, they repented — they had another mind about things.
So it is with people when it comes to Jesus Christ. We must repent, change our minds, with respect to sin, God, and self. That is, we must view sin as what keeps us alienated and separated from God, and realize that there must be a remedy to bridge this separation. We must view Jesus Christ as God’s bridge that overcomes and reconciles that gap. Moreover, we must view ourselves as helpless apart from Jesus Christ — we cannot bridge this gap through our own innate goodness. Most people in modern society believe that they are good enough to stand before a Holy God because they see the shortcomings of their religious neighbors and deem themselves better. If God is going to let my neighbor into heaven, he will most certainly open the doors for me. But that is not quite the way God views things. The Bible teaches that we are all — no matter how good we may think we are — helpless before God apart from Jesus Christ. Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Until the Crimson Tide changed the way they viewed black players and integration, they would never win another national championship. Until we repent of the way we view ourselves, sin, and Jesus Christ, we will never be right with God.
Prayer: Lord, enlighten me. Open my mind so I see things the way you see things, and give me the strength to act according to my new mind.