Scripture Reading — Matthew 3:1-12
"Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." Matthew 3:10 —
Repentance has a negative side--"the dying away of the old self." It means we stop running after sin. Recently a policeman and I were talking about dogs. I told him how much I liked German Shepherds. He said he didn't, and then he explained why. He had been called to a crime scene. When he got there, he saw the suspect fleeing on foot, so he ran after him. At that same moment, a canine unit arrived, and the officer shouted, "Dog loose!" Seconds later, a German Shepherd seized my friend the policeman's leg and brought him down. I sympathized and said, "They shouldn't have let the dog loose; it was the unit's fault." "No," he said, "It was my fault. When an officer shouts: ?Dog loose!' you stop immediately and put your hands behind your head. The dog is trained to leave you alone when you surrender. I continued running, so I was taken down." John the Baptist stood on the banks of the Jordan River shouting, "The King is coming. He's on the loose! Surrender!" John preached repentance, urging people to prepare for the coming of the Lord. The reign of God is coming, and it does not depend on our repentance. We can either surrender and be blessed, or resist and perish. Here comes the King!
Gracious God, may your Spirit compel us to stop our trivial pursuits, our foolish ends, and our sinful ways, and may we seek your kingdom only. In Jesus' name, Amen.