John, the Baptist was an unusual character. He preached a groundbreaking message of repentance.
His cry was "Repent and be baptized!"
He was challenging people to "turn away." Wow. This was a hard message for many people to understand. But for those that "had ears to hear," it was a clear opportunity for hope and freedom. You can turn away. You can start again. You can leave your old life and be made new again.
As I have studied the Gospel of John with my students and watched the powerful DVD series by the same name over the past few weeks, I have re-discovered the amazing offer that John brought. He was preparing people for the Messiah's arrival. He was a guy who did not blend in with the religious crowd. He confronted the idea of looking good on the outside and having a heart of stone hidden within.
When I feel offended at John's sermons, I am realizing that I am trying to hold onto something that I need to turn away and out of my life. So, today, with you, sweet friends, I repent. I want to turn away from discouragement, pride, fear, and some very old hurt feelings. I want to dip back into that river and stand up clean and fresh and new.