4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4
John preached a radically different “model” of repentance and forgiveness. Those worshiping in the temple era prior to John required sacrifices. As the forerunner to Jesus, John was preparing them for the internal work of grace and forgiveness that Jesus offered. Yes, they were required to repent.
Jesus continued the repentance and forgiveness message, and it was carried along by Peter and Paul. It was a radical change and would have been seen that way by the Jews.
It’s still as relevant today as it was then. You can’t have forgiveness without repentance. Repentance is breaking up that fallow ground we discussed yesterday, a softening of the heart, as it were.
First, people have to be shown that they’re sinners and need to repent. Otherwise, there’s no need to turn from your ways. If your ways aren’t wicked or even bad, why do you need to repent?
As we’ll see later, John would go at least a step further by pointing out people’s sins. He would pay the ultimate price for such courage, but he stuck to the message of forgiveness through repentance.
Two thousand years have passed and the message is the same: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 3:2)