“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,” Mark 1:1 NIV
According to Mark, before we can get to Jesus, we must first go through John the Baptist. Likewise, standing in our way on our journey to Christmas joy, is this fiery preacher with his message of repentance. John was not the good news, but he calls us to get ready for the Good News. Now I know we do not associate the word “repent” with good news, in fact it sounds more like threatening news. You know, like “Jesus is coming so you’d better change your ways” kind of news.
Yet the word repent (metanoeo-Greek), actually means to change one’s mind and John proclaims it is how we get ready for Jesus’s arrival. Some think repentance is required to make God be more gracious and forgive us. However, to repent is to change our hearts and minds in order to receive the free gift of salvation. True repentance corrects how we think about and live in God’s coming kingdom now. Repentance also changes the way we act towards one another by sharing God’s mercy and compassion. Repentance seeks the mind of Jesus. (Philippians 2).
In other words, repentance is the way we prepare the way for the Lord’s coming which is the heart of John’s message. John’s preaching was the beginning of the good news that Jesus is coming, and heaven is coming with him. Now that is Good News indeed!
How is God changing your mind about your place in His kingdom today?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” —ISAIAH 55:8–9