Lenten Devotional // Day 3

Friday, March 4
REPENT by Amy Sanders
Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:

The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
Make his paths straight.”


John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.

People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.”

Reflection 

John the Baptist was a weird dude. He wore camel hair shirts (that can’t be comfortable, right?), ate bugs (ew), and his sole purpose in life seems to be shouting at people to change their ways or they’ll burn forever (sounds like a fun guy!). And all that shouting wasn’t to call attention to himself, instead, he served as an ancient-times equivalent to a hype man for Jesus. While I’m sure some people in Judea disregarded his warning to repent, I doubt many people could ignore all that “shouting in the wilderness”.  He certainly got their attention.

In our modern lives, we are bombarded by so many voices shouting at us (thanks, social media!). The unfortunate truth is that it seems to take a LOT to get our attention. The voices that catch and hold our attention are the loudest, the most outrageous, and the most sensational. Amongst all the shouting, it can be easy to tune out the quieter voices, the voices that nudge us, the voices that challenge the status quo, and the voices that call us to repent.

Question for Contemplation

As you sift through all the “noise” of your daily life (and especially in your social media feeds), which voices are you paying attention to? 

Prayer

God, the world is a noisy place with many voices shouting at us in the wilderness. We thank you for sending John the Baptist and other voices that call our attention to how far we’ve strayed from your path and call us to repent. And we especially thank you for sending Jesus. Help us do the hard work of turning away from those paths and turning back to you. Amen

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