Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘repent

jesus_second_comingThe apostle, Peter wrote in his second letter, ‘First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. This will be their argument: “Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created.”

“They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth up from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the world with a mighty flood. And God has also commanded that the heavens and the earth will be consumed by fire on the Day of Judgment, when ungodly people will perish.

“But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” (2 Peter 3:3-9)

Make no mistake. Jesus is coming again.  The Lord does not make idle promises.  We do not know the hour but we can be certain that He is coming back.  The world has changed.  We are seeing evidence that it is soon coming to an end.  We serve a merciful God who desires that none should perish.  He is being patient for our sake.  He is giving people time to turn from their sins—to turn from their wicked ways and seek Him.

Don’t be discouraged. Be patient.  The Lord will come soon.  Prepare your hearts and lives for that glorious day when He will appear in the clouds with His angels.

Don’t doubt or despair because He hasn’t come as yet. Instead, remember this promise Jesus made: “Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Advertisements

Zechariah 3:1-4

filthy-garmentSatan accused Joshua, who here represents the nation of Israel.  The accusations were accurate.  Joshua stood in “filthy clothes” (sins) yet, God revealed His mercy, stating that He chose to save His people in spite of their sin.

God punished Judah through the fire of great trials but He rescued the nation before it was completely destroyed, like “a burning stick snatched from the fire”.

Zechariah’s vision shows how we receive God’s mercy.  We do nothing ourselves.  God removes our filthy clothes (sins), then provides us with new, clean, rich garments (His righteousness and holiness).  All we need to do is repent and ask God to forgive us.

Don’t let the Devil make you think it’s hopeless and that your sins cannot be forgiven.  Like Joshua stand before God, confess your sins and forsake them and you will receive forgiveness.  Let God take your filthy clothes and replace them with His clean robe.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

BaptismOfJesusJohn the Baptist, when he saw Jesus, testified that He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world.  He mentions that Jesus is the One whom he had spoken of before.  He knew Him not but that He should be revealed to Israel and that he, John, comes baptizing with water.  His baptisms are his way of preparing Israel for the Messiah who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Luke’s Gospel elaborates on John’s role.  He was to come before Jesus in the manner of an earlier prophet–Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to wisdom of the just; to make people ready–to prepare them for the Lord.

John the Baptist was called the prophet of the Highest because he was to go before Jesus to prepare His way.  He was to let the people know about salvation by the remission of their sins.  John went about saying, “Repent you: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  He was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah.  God revealed Jesus to John, for John testified that he had seen the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove and settle on Him.  God had told John that the person he saw the Spirit descend and remain on was the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.  John witnessed this phenomenon and testified that Jesus was the Son of God.

Like John the Baptist, Jesus is revealed to us and it is up to us to share this revelation with others.  We can declare to others that Jesus is the Son of God and through Him we receive the Holy Spirit.  After Jesus came, baptism was done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  As in Jesus’ case, we too receive the Holy Spirit in baptism.

Love suffers long… – 1 Corinthians 13:4

imagesCASU1CJ4Since He loves us with an everlasting love, God is long suffering.  It is not His will that any one should perish.  He is not dragging His feet but He wants as many people as possible to come to Him before Jesus returns.  Time after time God has been patient with His people, giving them opportunity after opportunity to turn from their sinful lives.  His love for them would not permit Him to pass judgment before giving them a chance to repent.

He is the father in the story of the prodigal son.  The son took his inheritance and left home.  He soon squandered it with his partying.  Realizing what he had left behind, he decided to return home.  His father saw him coming and ran to meet him.  During the time his son was away, the father hoped that he would return.  He waited patiently, looking out for him each day until finally he saw him in the distance.

God waits patiently for sinners to come to Him.  He is waiting for those like the prodigal son who once enjoyed a relationship with him but allowed worldly interests to draw him away and He is waiting for those who have never had a relationship with Him.  His love would not permit Him to do otherwise.  His love is patient and longsuffering.

That it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God” – Jeremiah 42:6

When Jesus told Simon Peter, James and John, “Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men,” they must have trusted Him enough to leave everything behind and follow Him.  They had seen with their own eyes what miraculous things He could.  All night the three men had been fishing and had caught nothing yet when they cast down their nets as Jesus bid them, they caught so much fish that the net holding them was breaking.  The two boats began to sink under the weight of the fish.  How was it possible that the same lake where the men hadn’t caught any fish a moment ago and the minute Jesus told them to cast their nets in, they were bursting with fish?  Jesus had done the impossible.  When, the men saw this, they were astonished.  They probably never caught so much fish in all the years they had been fishing and here Jesus had done it in such a short time.  Possibly ashamed of his reluctance earlier, Peter fell to his knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

Jesus told Simon Peter not to be afraid and that from now on, he would catch men.  Simon Peter’s days as a fisherman were over and he was now a follower of Jesus who had great plans for him and the others.  Just imagine how differently things would have turned out if Peter hadn’t decided to literally drop everything and follow Jesus.  He could not have imagined in all his wildest dreams what miraculous things he would be a witness to or that he would be preaching the same gospel he heard Jesus preach to the people from Peter’s boat or that he would be walking on water or that he too would be healing people.  None of these men could ever have imagined that their lives would change so dramatically because they had put their trust and faith in Jesus.  Just like these men, we should leave our worries behind and follow Him.  Catching the fish that had seemed nonexistent a short while ago was Jesus’ way of showing the three men what is impossible for man is not impossible for Him.  And that He could help them to catch bigger and better things if they just allow themselves to trust Him.

When we follow Jesus we are in for a treat.  As He pointed out, “I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  Peter and the other apostles believed that casting the net in the lake was hopeless because they had been trying all night to catch fish.  Fishing was their livelihood when they weren’t catching any it must have been very frustrating for them.  Then, Jesus came along told them to cast the net in and when they did there was an abundance of fish.  He wanted to show them what would happen if one doesn’t give up every time things don’t go well or as expected.  Jesus wanted to demonstrate through these men that He could penetrate the murky waters of our limited imagination and bring forth treasures that are possible only when we have faith in Him.

Jesus is the Light and when we trust in Him, we will no longer be in the dark about who He is and what He is capable of.  “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known.  I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight.” (Isaiah 42:16)  Jesus led Peter and the other disciples out of spiritual blindness into spiritual awareness.  On that fateful day on the lake, He opened their eyes to His magnificence.  He took them on a journey that forever changed their lives.  They went from reeling in fish to reeling in people.  Jesus taught them everything they needed to know and after His resurrection, He sent them into the world to finish His work.  “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

Just as He had promised, He was always with them, in person when He was here on earth and in spirit after He had returned to His Father in Heaven.  He is with us in spirit and when He calls us to do His work, He is right there alongside us, giving us guidance and all the tools we need to accomplish the task.  He left behind the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth; speak only what He hears and tell them what was to come.  In Acts 2, the disciples were gathered in one place on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and they began to speak in other tongues.  The Holy Spirit enabled them.  Peter addressed the non-believers, reminding them of Jesus and the miracles He performed before them, His crucifixion, and His resurrection.  He called them to repent and be baptized.  That day, about three thousand people accepted Christ and were baptized.  A fellowship of the believers was started; they broke bread, gave to those in need, and praised God who increased the number of people saved.  Jesus was with His disciples throughout their ministry, helping them, as they became fishers of men.

When we obey God we are blessed and through our obedience other people are blessed.  The apostles obeyed Jesus and they were blessed with His teachings, His love and with the Holy Spirit.  They were blessed with the task of spreading the gospel and as a result, others were blessed because they came to know Jesus.    When Moses obeyed God’s call to free the Israelites from Egypt, he had no way of knowing that he would be remembered as one of the greatest prophets of all time.  When Abraham obeyed God and went to a strange land, he had no way of knowing that he would be the father of many nations or that one of his descendants would be one of Israel’s greatest kings or that one of them would be the Messiah.  When Peter and the other fishermen followed Jesus they had no way of knowing that they would be witnesses of miracles or doers of miraculous signs.

When King Herod heard about Jesus he thought it was John the Baptist come back to life.  Then we learn how John died and why.  First, he was arrested and then thrown into prison because he dared to speak out against Herod’s unlawful relationship with his sister-in-law, Herodias.  She was still his brother’s Philip’s wife.  Theirs was an adulterous relationship.

Herodias wanted John dead because of what he was saying about her and Herod.  All John was doing was speaking the truth.  He was a man (prophet) of God and his duty was to speak out agains iniquity.  Adultery was a sin.  It had to be addressed and that was what John the Baptist was doing.  He could not look the other way.  This was the same man who called for people to repent.  He had to confront Herod about his sin.  He told him plainly, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”  For this Herod wanted to put John to death but feared the people.

Herodias was determined to have her way.  She played on her husband’s weakness.  She used her daughter to get what she wanted on Herod’s birthday.  John 14:6,7 state that the daughter of Herodias danced before Herod and the guests and pleased the king so much that he foolishly promised with an oath to give the girl whatever she asked for.  She asked, at her mother’s bidding, for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

Herod realized too late that he had been set up.  Obviously this request had Herodias’ name written all over it. She stood to gain a lot from John’s death.  Mark wrote in his Gospel that she held what John had said about her against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;  for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.  Herodias had to scheme and plot to get what she wanted.

Herod couldn’t go back on his word.  He had no choice but to do as the girl asked.  John was beheaded and when his head was brought on a platter to the girl, she took it to her mother.  I could just imagine the smug look on Herodias’ face.  She had gotten rid of the baptist.  She had succeeded in silencing his voice.  Now she was free to live as she pleased.

Herod had been tricked into killing a just and holy man.  This reminds me of King Darius who had been tricked into signing a decree that would sentence the prophet Daniel to death.  He could not revoke it.  It also reminds me of the story in Judges 11 of Jephthah, the foolish father who made a vow he could not take back.

What can we learn from this horrible and tragic story of John the Baptist?  We shouldn’t make vows or promises we will later regret.   And if someone we know is doing something wrong, we should say something.  Just today I heard a story of someone was behaving inappropriately at his workplace so his co-workers they confronted him about it.  They warned him to stop what he was doing or risk losing his job.  It was then up to that individual to either smarten up and heed his co-workers’ warnings or continue doing what he was doing and get fired.  As Christians, we could only bring the truth to people–what they decide to do with it is up to them.  At least they can’t plead ignorance.

I think that as a holy and just man, John the Baptist had to do what was required of him which is found in Ezekiel 3:18, 19.  He was to warn King Herod of his sinful way and if the king did not turn from his wicked way, he will die in his iniquity.

When God sends someone to call us out for a sin we are committing, we should not want to shut the person up.  This is God’s way of reaching out to us and calling us to turn away from our sin and to turn to Him instead.  In other words, don’t shoot the messenger but be thankful that the One who sent him or her loves you so much that He is willing to wash you thoroughly from your iniquity, and cleanse you from your sin (Psalm 51:2).


%d bloggers like this: