By Eugene H. Peterson
John the Baptizer appeared within the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that results in forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4 (MSG)
There may be an attention-grabbing historical past of the phrase repentance. The phrase in Hebrew means initially to take a deep breath and sigh. A deep feeling of sorrow, of regret. Repentance on the root, on the very starting, appears to have the concept you understand that you’ve got achieved one thing incorrect and you are feeling badly about it. And you are feeling it deeply; it will get down deep within you, and also you groan or sigh otherwise you breathe deeply. All of us understand how that works. We all know that a part of repentance. We all know the half that has to do with our emotions.
The attention-grabbing factor is that use of the phrase didnt final lengthy within the Bible. In a short time the writers started to substitute one other phrase for a similar motion, and this different phrase meant return or flip round and go. Not a phrase of feeling in any respect, however a phrase of motion. Below the affect of the prophets, repentance turned not one thing you felt however one thing you probably did. And its important you get that by means of your heads if you’ll perceive what the Bible means about repentance. You dont repent by taking a deep breath after which really feel higher. You solely repent while you flip round and return or towards God. It doesnt make any distinction how you are feeling. You possibly can have the sensation, otherwise you dont need to have the sensation. Whats important is that you just do one thing. The decision to repentance will not be a name to really feel the regret of your sins. Its a name to show round in order that God can do one thing about them.
John the Baptist was referred to as the forerunner of our Lord. He ready the way in which. He received individuals able to hearken to and reply to Jesus Christ. And the way in which he did it was to evangelise repentance. Thats about all he talked about. Thats all we all know he talked about. A baptism of repentance. Now bear in mind hes not calling the individuals collectively and taking part in on their feelings by saying, What horrible individuals youve been. Dont you are feeling badly for the way in which youve lived? Shed a number of tears. He didnt try this. He used the phrase which by Johns time in historical past had an motion that means. He was saying, Flip round. Begin trying in a unique course. Begin going a unique course. Gods coming to you. Prepare for it.
There may be an outdated story across the Ozarks a couple of fiddler who at all times performed only one word on his fiddle, and somebody got here as much as him someday and mentioned, Zeke, all these different fiddlers play quite a lot of completely different notes. How come you simply play one word? He replied, Nicely, all these different guys are in search of the best word. Ive discovered it. And thats the impression you get with John the Baptist. He had one word he performed, and he stored taking part in it and taking part in it and taking part in it.
Quite a lot of different individuals have been saying quite a lot of different issues in regards to the coming of the Messiah. A few of them have been much more attention-grabbing, however John simply stored plunking away, Repent, repent, repent. As a result of, you see, John knew that there was actually not a complete lot we will do about our salvation. God has achieved all that must be achieved. God has ready a life for us and a salvation for us, which is implausible. Its complicated. Its intricate. Its great. And theres not a lot we will contribute. In actual fact, you would possibly say that there’s not something we will contribute. However there’s something now we have to do. Now we have to show round.
Now we have to go that means. Now we have to open ourselves as much as that course. And so, the monotony of the phrase repent, the singleness of Johns message, didnt get difficult with us. He didnt get fancy, and he didnt have difficult doctrines he tried to get us to grasp. He simply needed to get us to show round in order that we’re there for God to do one thing with us in Jesus Christ.
The above article is excerpted from A Month of Sundays: Thirty-One Days of Wrestling with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by Eugene H. Peterson. Copyright 2019 by Eugene H. Peterson. Printed by WaterBrook, an imprint of Random Home, a division of Penguin Random Home LLC, on November 5, 2019. Utilized by permission of WaterBrook. waterbrookmultnomah.com. Pages 49-53. All rights reserved.
BIO: Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message: The Bible in Up to date Language, is the beloved writer of greater than 30 books, together with A Lengthy Obedience within the Similar Course: Discipleship in an On the spot Society, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Greatest, Christ Performs in Ten Thousand Locations, and Inform It Slant. He earned his masters diploma in Semitic languages from Johns Hopkins College. Peterson was the founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, the place he and his spouse, Jan, served for 29 years. Peterson held the title of professor emeritus of non secular theology at Regent School, Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1998 till his demise in 2018.
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