God, through the prophet Isaiah, warned us about turning from good and calling what is good, evil, and what is evil, good. He said,
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).”
The word “woe” means, shredded, or undone. That is a clear picture of what is happening in world, today. We are being shredded and undone by the choice we have made to reject what is good in God’s sight, in order to follow and do what is evil in God’s sight. By doing this, we have chosen a path that is leading us to hell, and the saddest thing is that we are happy and rejoice over this decision. But, God knew we would do this, so He already had a plan to get us off this path to self-destruction. Look at what He said,
“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 3:1).”
God was going to send John the baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Messiah by preaching the message of repentance of sins, which was the same message that Jesus Messiah was going to preach to them. Here is what John the Baptist preached:
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight! (Matthew 3:1-3).””
Sin is what stood between God and His people, the Israelites, and all Gentiles (those who are not Jewish), and still does, today. Sin is turning away from God to live our lives for the sole purpose of fulfilling our selfish desires and satiate our fleshly pleasures that lead to self-destruction. It is a rejection of God as our Sovereign Lord. Repentance is choosing to get off the path to self-destruction, and putting our faith in Jesus Messiah, and following Him on the path to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). Here is what John the Baptist said to the people:
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel (John 1:29-31).”
John the Baptist announces Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb who would be sacrificed for the forgiveness of, not just His own people, the Jews, but the sins of the entire world – Jews and Gentiles alike.
Later, after Jesus had been tempted the devil, and resisted his temptations, Jesus began His preaching career, and this is what he said in His very first message:
“From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heavenhas come near! (Matthew 4:17).”
Jesus was calling all people of the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, to repent, to turn from walking on the path of rebellion against God, put their faith in Him, and follow Him on the path to eternal life. Jesus said:
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:1-6).”
This is great news! Jesus came to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day after His death, so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is believe and recognize that we are sinners, ask for God’s forgiveness, and then believe and accept what Jesus did on the cross for us in such a way that we now choose to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him; this is not something we do out of obligation, but because we understand what He has done for us, and love Him for it.
What, or whose path are you on? Where is it leading you?
In Christ’s love,